Thursday, August 6, 2009

Seeing the Positive

not sure what the main point is in this one, but it was published in the yated, from a survivor.

I would like to address the sensitive topic that has been discussed the past few weeks, as my experience has been very different than the general concencus.

I, too, was hurt by an older person whom i trusted. It hurt. My father zt"l always told me when i was growing up that life was hard. He used to take me to the hospital to visit people who were ill. He took me every friday to help prepare food for people who didn't have any. He would tell us about tragedies in people's lives, and we would say Tehillim together. He used to say, "Life is hard, but as long as you put on tefillin each morning, life is fun."

I think my father inoculated me from getting too down in life. Who am i to withdraw from society because I got hurt, when everyone around me has their own problems?

I've been married now for ten years and have five children, boruch Hashem. I can still feel the pangs of pain of a little bewildered kid inside me, but it is overwhelmed by the feelings of gratitude I feel to my father zt"l.

Name Withheld

Someone To Turn To

this letter in this week's yated is quite interesting. i've never heard of such a person, and would love to know who they are. it's a bit unrealistic to think the way this person does...

In my community, there is a person who is an address for abuse. He controls the abuser (even if he has left the community) or the parents of the abuser, and he makes sure the abuser goes into therapy. [my note: is it really possible for anyone to fully control an abuser? i think not...] A much respected therapist travels for the community about once a week for this purpose. I was fortunate that I heard about his work. When my child was mishandled, I had an address. But, if I hadn't known about him, who knows if i would have taken action?

Is there a way to ensure that such shomrim do exist in each community? It is probably better for the shomer's identity to remain anonymous to the general public in order to allow him to carry out his avodas hakodesh in a discreet fashion. But rabbonim of all serious (in size) kehillos, poskim and frum pediatricians should all be informed of the work the shomer does. Any person in need of contacting the shomer could be in touch with rabbanim or pediatricians to seek out his contact number.

Name Withheld for Obvious Reasons

Believe Them

another great letter from the yated!

I would like to thank the "Happy Girls" who have shared their personal experiences with us. Dear girls, while I have not been in your shoes, I would like to share what your letters have done for me.

As a mother, it has made me aware of the importance of speaking to my children, each according to their own level of understanding, about recognizing uncomfortable situations.

To all mothers and fathers, please believe your daughters and sons if they come to you with stories that are difficult to hear. They are not making them up. No one would experience the humiliation if they weren't desperate for help. And when they do come to you, figure out a way to protect them. Other than Hashem, no one loves them more than you do. Hashem has entrusted you with these beautiful neshamos and it is your job to keep them safe. No one asked for this to happen, but it has, so take care of it. Ask advice anonymously if you don't know what to do, but davening is not enough.

"Happy Girls," thank you for opening my eyes and helping to make me a better mother. Please get help and stop this horrific abuse. No one is allowed to touch you without your permission.

E. F.

on the note of "no one is allowed to touch you without your permission", be aware that a child CANNOT GIVE PERMISSION FOR SOMEONE TO TOUCH THEM SEXUALLY!! they have no understanding of it! some of us "gave permission" and then couldn't stop it. it's a very sensitive topic...

They Must Be Aware

this letter is taken from the yated. i don't know who wrote it, but it's a great one!

Dear Editor,

I would like to respectfully disagree with the mother who wrote in to criticize the yated for printing the letter from "Happy Girl" in the Readers Write section because her children read i and she did not want to expose her children to these horrors. I think the Yated generally uses very good judgement in what is printed, and this time was no different. The letter, by the way, contained no objectionable content. It did an excellent job of saying things without saying them.

I understand that I am not yet a mother, so I might not be completely qualified to contribute my comments, but I will nonetheless.

It is imperative that children of all ages, both male and female, be aware of this issue. Reading it in the Chinuch Roundtable and reading it in the Readers Write are two different experiences. Here, they are able to "hear" it directly from the victim, one of their peers, and can possibly believe that it exists. Kids don't want to believe that the people they are raised to trust are capable of hurting them. Unfortunately, it is a lesson that must be taught before it is too late.

When my mother tries to tell my teenage brother what to do if someone in yeshiva or camp approaches him in an innapropriate manner, he immediately dismisses her and promises that these things simply don't happen (not just that it won't happen to him). That attitude frightens me, especially from yonger children.

Parents, please allow your children to learn from other people's unfortunate experiences, such as by reading letters in the yated, so that they won't, chas veshalom, suffer themselves.

R. Flatbush, Brooklyn

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Protecting Our Children

Here's an interesting letter from someone who wishes to protect her kids. What do you all think?

taken from the Yated:

As an avid reader of the Yated, I feel compelled to write after reading a letter in last week's Readers Write.

Like countless others, I am a parent who carefully screens my children's reading material (both for content and for age appropriateness). I have always felt comfortable bringing the Yated into my home each week and having it enjoyed by all my children. That's why last week's letter was so upsetting to me. I am referring to the letter about abuse written by "Happy Girl."

I strongly believe that there is a major need for public awareness of this problem, and in your editorial several weeks ago, you did just that. You brought up this serious matter in an appropriate and delicate manner. However, it was disturbing to see such a letter printed in the middle of your highly popular Readers Write column, which is read and disected by kids of all ages, as I can attest to. It is the responsibility of all parents to do the utmost to ensure the physical and emotional wellbeing of their children, and to educate them in all matters of safety as tehy grow up. But it should be left to the parents' discretion as to how and when to do so, particualarly when dealing with a topic as sensitive as abuse. I don't believe that education should come from a Readers Write column which is read by kids all over the world.

Please save these issues for parts of your paper that are clearly geared to adults, such as your weekly editorial which I enjoy so much.

Thank you for your wonderful newspaper which my family enjoys week after week. Keep up the great work.