Reprinted by Permission © (2003) By Kelly Greene
Originally published in The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter
Dear Rabbis of the World,
How can I get your attention? Will you stop what you are doing and take the time to learn about me and childhood sexual abuse?
I'm writing you this from my heart. I know that my words represents the thoughts and feelings of thousands of Jewish survivors of childhood sexual abuse when I say that we have been calling out to you for generations.
We have been begging you to help us. As a result, we have had doors slam in our faces, and have been excommunicated by our families, friends and our communities. We need this to stop. We want to work with you, and help you learn. We want to make the world a safe place for children. We want to make the Jewish community a safe place for adult survivors. We want to work towards the goal of all of us becoming one nation.
I know that over the years many survivors have been investigating why you don't know about us (or childhood sexual abuse). We don't blame you. But we need to make changes today, right this second.
We understand the majority of yeshiva's don't educate rabbis on abuse issues. We understand that most of you are afraid of the topic, and hence afraid of us. Our presence makes you feel uncomfortable. Our essences remind you of the evils that lurk in the world. But to end this evil, we need to work together as a team.
I know for myself that I know nothing about God. In the past I have seen God and any form of organized religion as evil. I still see God as an abusive force. I have difficulties wanting to have a Jewish identity. I will admit, I have been hurt by the Jewish community. I keep asking myself, why would I want to be a part of something that has hurt me?
I need you to help me see things differently. I need you to share your thoughts and feelings with me. I need to hear you explain why I was abused. I need you to explain what purpose it all serves. I need you to communicate with me on a level that I can understand.
Over the years I've spoken to many abuse survivors, who have questions for you. All to often we feel that you turn away from us. In the past you have told us our disclosures were lashon hara. We ended up feeling that we were the cause of our own victimization. The truth of the matter is that ignorance is to blame. We need to terminate this ignorance. We need to have a dialog. Please answer the questions we have for you, help us understand. Please don't be afraid of us.
Can we start a dialog? Can I ask you questions about God, and will you ask me questions about victimization and surviving? Can we work together as a team? Can you teach me not to be afraid of you, and God? Can I teach you not to be afraid of me?