R. Dovid Tzvi Ordentlich
Yehuda Shohat and Ariela Sternbuch reported in Yediot Aharonot a year ago about the advice that Israeli rabbis give about whether to report sexual assaults to the police. Sternbuch called up 27 individuals describing obviously criminal sexual assaults.
Until now, only the interaction with Rabbi Ratzon Arussi was translated into English along with his rationalizations (See Haanah Katsman, “Rabbi Defends Not Reporting Sex Abuse”).
What is notable for most of these responses is they did not invoke any prohibitions of mesira (snitching).
Instead they engaged in victim blaming, worried about the impact on the offender and his family, warned about impact of reporting in the marriage prospects of the victim, and insisted the police were ineffective. They often assumed the offense was a one-time event and assumed teshuva (repentence). Their practical solutions for preventing repetitions of this offense involved giving the offender a tongue lashing.
These rabbis abdicated their responsibility to protect the public from presumed sexual assailants.
This is why I always advise against contacting rabbis for advice about reporting abuse, except for the small number of rabbis with reliable reputations for supporting the use of the police to protect the community. Even some of those are inconsistent, supporting it in theory or in special cases but not in others.
Below are the translated excerpts from the article. Read, turn your stomach, and keep this in mind if you or someone you know is the victim of a sex assault. (For the 6/22/15 Hebrew Yediot Achronot version and tape recordings go to שקט, מטייחים. מקריבים את הנפגעים החרדים.
Translations below by Danny Wool a writer, editor, and translator, who specializes in Jewish and Israeli themes. He is deeply involved in the Israeli film industry, having worked on such films and projects as The Gatek.
Rabbi David Zvi Ordentleich
The chief rabbis of Beitar Illit (pop. 65,000), Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Ordentleich, and Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yaakov Tufik, are also members of the local religious court. The author, posing as a 17-year-old girl, told them over the phone that she was molested by the father of a friend, and that her mother told her not to complain to the police.
“Did he just touch you and remove his clothes, or was it more than that,” Rabbi Ordentleich asked, knowing that the person she accused was an older yeshiva student.
Girl: He also put his hands inside.
Rabbi: Did he try to do anything else? Did you resist? Continue reading