December 28, 2011
Chanukah 2011 Party For Survivors Of Abuse The candles flicker at the window casting a warm glow of light that reaches out into the darkness of the night. Inside, the room is filled with people who have come together to share the warmth and light of Chanukah. This is no ordinary Chanukah party- as many of the people who are in attendance are survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence within the Orthodox Jewish community.
This is the first time a gathering of this sort has been allowed to happen. The Voice of Justice an organization whose goal is to reach out and help victims of sexual abuse in the Orthodox community sponsored this event. Sexual abuse is a taboo subject within the Jewish community and many are afraid to speak out and share their experiences. It is unfortunate that victims of abuse go unrecognized and sometimes are even ostracized within their own community.
Chanukah parties are held all over the United States sponsored by many different organizations, all of which are endorsed by the Gedolim. There has been no such offer from any Rabbi towards victims of sexual abuse. The pain and emotional suffering a victim of rape or molestation experiences, often continues throughout their lives. Their suffering is exacerbated by the secrecy and deafening silence surrounding abuse in the religious community. The gathering of survivors this Chanukah of 2011 has broken this silence. The party took place in Brooklyn on the 7th night of Chanukah. The atmosphere was one of warmth and closeness, with everyone present understanding the pain of his fellow Jew.
Rabbi Blau was in attendance and in his calm and reassuring manner delivered a few short words of inspiration. He said that the message of Chanukah is that even a small group of people standing up for what is right, can overthrow the abusive tyranny of the greatest adversary. This message was met with resounding applause as it resonated deeply with the survivors and their friends and families.
Mark Appel also spoke and then led the service of the lighting of the Menorah. His outgoing and positive personality lent an atmosphere of camaraderie and fun. Dr. Asher Lipner- advocate and psychologist, well known for his long time experience with victims of abuse- was also in attendance. He mingled with the 40 or so guests, chatting, pouring wine and sharing stories, creating a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Rabbi Kaganoff from Passaic also attended the party as did other advocates for victims of abuse.
The ambiance was one of relaxed companionship. The tables were set with festive arrangements and the hot latkes, sesame chicken, french potatoes and good wine was enjoyed and appreciated by all.
We applaud The Voice of Justice who has done a tremendous job in promoting awareness and supporting victims and survivors alike. This is only the beginning as they plan to sponsor many more events in the future. We all hope that our community leaders will begin to understand the enormity of the responsibility that they as Rabbis of the largest Jewish community in the world own. They need to step up to the plate, own up to their mistakes and allow the voices of the abused to be heard.
Police investigate after a girl was sent to hospital on Monday, Dec 26, 2011.
4-year-old sexual assault victim released from hospital Josh Tapper - Staff Reporter Tuesday December 27, 2011thestar.com Toronto News A 4-year-old girl abducted from a north Toronto home and sexually assaulted was released from hospital on Tuesday.
The girl, who was visiting with family from Connecticut, was abducted early Monday morning from her grandparents’ home on Charleswood Dr., near Bathurst St. and Wilson Ave.
While police released few details on the kidnapping or assault, a woman who identified herself as the girl’s grandmother said the ordeal “had a happy ending,” referring to her granddaughter’s discharge from hospital. READ MORE
Warning To Parents sent out by Eitz Chaim in Toronto
Subject: An Important Message From Rabbi Pliner
Monday, December 19, 2011
It has come to our attention that there is a man who was raised in the Toronto Torah community and who may look like a current member of our community who has recently tried to lure teenagers from our neighborhoods and our schools into inappropriate relationships and situations.
It is our responsibility to alert our parent body of the situation as we know it now. If and when more information becomes available about him we will bring it to your attention.
We understand that community members and Rabbonim are working with the police to address this situation in its entirety i.e. to remove the potential danger from our midst.
In response to this information, all three branches of Eitz Chaim are taking the following two steps:
1. To reinforce compliance of all safety and security protocols that is in place, by staff and children.
2. We have spoken to all students in Grades 5-8 about being alert and careful to demonstrate self protective behaviours when approached by adults.
Self protective behaviours include:
1. Your body belongs to you
2. How to say no
3. There are no secrets from your parents, especially when someone says, "Do not tell your parents".
Please follow up at home and reinforce this important information. May Hashem watch over us and guard us from all danger.
Rabbi I. Pliner
Please Read second Email sent out by Rabbi Pilner
In response to the inquiries we have received, kindly be advised that we
had been asked by Toronto Police to not divulge the name of the
individual under discussion in the previous email. At the same time, we
are able to provide the following description:
5 foot 10 inches
Approximately 175 to 200 pounds
Dark and wavy hair
Age: Upper 20's
The individual has been seen dressed in a frum manner.
If you see a person matching this description engaging in contact with
children or in proximity of a facility that deals with children, kindly
contact the police.
Penn State students Makenzie Rupert, Amanda Lyons and Lauren Tilburg
listen to the speakers during the candle light vigil held on the Old Main
lawn on Friday, November 11, 2011in support of the victims of the
Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. CDT/Abby Drey ABBY DREY — Centre Daily Times
Penn State students create song for victims of child sex abuse
Thursday, December 29, 2011,Through the power of music, two Penn State students hope to help victims of child sexual abuse heal.The students, Joe Buyer (pronounced BOOyer) and Ronnie Byron, co-wrote and produced “Childhood Dreams,” a 5 1/ 2-minute song whose lyrics speak to the struggle the abused face and their quest to find strength to overcome it. The song was written shortly after the Jerry Sandusky criminal case became public, and the creators said it’s dedicated to Sandusky’s alleged victims as well as the local community that’s healing and all victims of such abuse.“The goal of this was to bring healing to the victims and provide hope at the same time,” said Buyer, a fifth-year senior in architectural engineering. Child sexual abuse, he said, “is very tragic, and it is very disgusting. It does not define who they are as a person.”A music video for the song, with vocals from Buyer using the pseudonym Joe Conrad, was posted to YouTube on Christmas Day. READ MORE
Missouri lawmaker proposes expanding sex abuse reportingThursday, December 29, 2011
The Associated Press ST. LOUIS A Missouri senator has proposed legislation that would require anyone who witnesses child sexual abuse to report it to authorities.Sen. Eric Schmitt told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his proposed legislation would make failing to report child sex abuse a misdemeanor with a punishment of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
"This is a very measured approach," said Schmitt, R-Glendale. "This doesn't deal with suspected abuse. It is tailored only to actual sexual abuse that is witnessed."
Currently only teachers, physicians, the clergy and members of certain other professions are required to report suspected child abuse under state law. READ MORE
Dragging sexual abuse out into the openBy Don Harrison Inquirer Thursday December 29, 2011There's no reason to believe that sexual abuse, pedophilic or otherwise, is increasing. It's only that we're more willing to talk about it.
The Penn State scandal seems to have unleashed a tsunami of revelations. "Funny uncles" are being outed everywhere, sometimes for atrocities committed long ago. The accusations against former Daily News sports columnist Bill Conlin, for example, go back 40 years. READ MORE
County Sligo, Ireland, view of Sligo town centre, along the Garavogue River.
The man claimed the priest had raped him as a 13-year-old boy
after coming to his family’s County Sligo home to
administer the last rites to his father, who was dying of cancer.
Irish priest behind one of largest sex abuse settlements in State deported from BrazilPATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs CorrespondentThe Irish Times - Thursday, December 29, 2011 AN IRISH priest responsible for what is believed to be one of the largest ever settlements in a clerical child sex abuse case in the State has been deported to England from Brazil, where he had spent the past eight years.
Fr Peter Kennedy (72), a priest with the St Patrick’s Missionary Society at Kiltegan, Co Wicklow, faces child abuse allegations from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s.
They involve at least 18 people from whom gardaí have taken statements. The suicides of two young men have been examined as part of the Garda investigation. READ MORE
Corey Feldman- Child Star
Hollywood Sex Abuse Is Rampant Say Child Stars
December 27th, 2011 By SheKnows Entertainment -Starpulse.com
Child sexual abuse is rampant in Hollywood, say several child stars in the know. What's being done about it? Not a whole lot.
Corey Feldman revealed that he and Corey and Haim were sexually abused throughout their teens by adults in Hollywood -- and now other former childhood stars are speaking out and backing up his claims.
"When I watched that interview, a whole series of names and faces from my history went zooming through my head," Paul Petersen, 66, star of the popular 1950's and '60's sitcom The Donna Reed Showand president of A Minor Consideration, told FOXNews.com. "Some of these people, who I know very well, are still in the game." READ MORE
Students stand outside Penn State's Old Main building,
protesting the handling of a child abuse scandal involving
retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Calls For More Reporting Of Suspected Child AbuseBy Joseph Shapiro December 21, 2011The revelations about alleged child sex abuse by a former Penn State football coach have caused policymakers to propose new measures to broaden who is required to report suspected abuse.
Each state already has laws that require some combination of doctors, teachers, day care providers and others who work with children to report suspected abuse. If they don't, they could face fines, the loss of a license, and, in some states, possibly jail time. READ MORE
Univ. of Okla. Professor Charged With Sex AbuseNORMAN, Okla
. December 20, 2011 (AP)abc News
A suspended University of Oklahoma professor has been formally charged with rape and other sex crimes involving teenage girls.
Online court records show 54-year-old social work professor Dwain Pellebon was charged Monday in Cleveland County with two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of sexual abuse and two counts of committing lewd acts with a child under 16.
Pellebon has denied the allegations. The court records do not list an attorney for him.
Affidavits filed in the case say a 13-year-old girl said she saw Pellebon abuse another 13-year-old girl. Also, a mentally disabled 15-year-old girl told investigators Pellebon had raped her at least twice.
The affidavits do not say where the alleged abuse occurred.
Pellebon is on paid leave from the university. READ MORE