I Can’t Come Forward and Share the Truth Because You Refuse to Listen

Guest Post by Yosef Bronshtein*

* Since this was first posted under the pseudonym, Yosef Bronshtein, in January 2013, the author has chosen to reveal his real name, Asher Lovy. Asher has posted several other articles with his real name on Frum Follies and now has his own blog, (Yerachmiel Lopin, August 20, 2015). 

I write publicly about abuse using my real name. Thousands of people have seen parts of my story, whether online or in print under my real name. *This piece I’m writing anonymously because this is something I cannot come forward about publicly. I’m scared. I never think about this. And when I do I generally fall apart. The abuse people have seen me write about publicly has always been physical, or emotional. But I was sexually abused as well, by my mother, no less. I can’t ever tell anyone about it, they would never understand.

I’m the dirty one. It was all, my fault because I’m a pervert. I’m the one who reached into my own pants and touched myself, she never did that to me, I did it to myself. All she did was kiss me. On my neck, my arms, my ears and ear lobes, my back. Isn’t that normal? Doesn’t every mother do that? I mean how different can any of that be from a kiss on the cheek or forehead? Some mothers kiss their kids on the mouth until a certain age, and they never do what I did. I didn’t like being kissed at all and I used to try to get away from it, but isn’t that normal? Don’t kids usually avoid kissing their parents? But then why do all my now-adult friends still willingly kiss and let themselves be kissed by their parents? I don’t understand. I’m a sick freak anyway, what would I know of normal.

I mean what kind of sick freak would be so turned on by his mother kissing him that he felt he had no choice but to run off and masturbate as fast as he could, release all that stuff that was building inside him because it just couldn’t stay there. What sort of sick 4-year-old. Or 5-year-old. Or 8-year-old. Or eleven year old. What sort of sick twelve-year-old would do that just because his mother kissed him just so at the shabbos table. And right on the couch in the living room, no less. What sort of sick fourteen year old, or fifteen year old. Never mind, that when she saw me masturbating at the age of five she watched and then teased me about it. And kept watching and teasing. And never told me that what I was doing was inappropriate, just kept watching and teasing. All my fault though, because it was my hand down my own pants.

It took years for me to realize that there was a problem with my childhood. I was already aware of the physical and emotional abuse and have written about it extensively and publicly, but I never made the connection between the kisses I didn’t like, the overpowering urges to masturbate, and the things my mother did. My mother constantly teased me about sex and spoke to me about sex she had and sex I’d have.

How could any of this be sexual abuse. Me? Sexually abused? No, I was just a child who liked masturbating too much. Wasn’t I? One night I was talking to some friends in a support chat and it all came together, the effects it’s been having on my life now and the fact that I was indeed sexually abused. When I made the connection it immediately became hard to accept and it tore me apart.

The next day I couldn’t function at all because of everything that was going through my head. I was sexually abused. I was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. I. Was. Sexually. Abused.

Then something else occurred to me. How could I ever tell this story? Who would ever believe me? When I went public with the physical abuse my closest friend’s mother told me I was exaggerating and making my story up because she knew my mother and my mother could never do anything like that. At the time I kept quiet because I was a guest in their home, but I had enough people supporting me that, although her comments hurt, I could get past them. But that, for me, is the single biggest thing keeping me from going public with my sexual abuse story. People will never believe me. They will call me sick, and perverted, a liar, a nebach. I will be that guy who did those disgusting things and then tried lying about his mother to make himself look better.

Why shouldn’t they say those things, I said those things about myself when I first found out. Truth be told, when I’m all alone and there’s no one there to contradict me, I still tell myself those things. My therapist did some exercises with me where we went through aspects of the sexual abuse and replaced my mother with an unrelated third-party.

My therapist asked me to tell her, given my age and the context of the relationship, to tell her if the acts that this anonymous third-party did to me, taking the place of my mother in these memories, were inappropriate. She backed me into a corner until I finally blurted out “yes, it looks like a foreplay scene from a movie.” I need to keep telling myself that, because it’s the only way I know that I’m not the sick one—that she is for taking advantage of me.

It has taken me this long to come this far and write something publicly about my sexual abuse and even now I can only write it anonymously. Those who know me know that writing is how I heal, and that writing under my real name is very important to me. I understand that the credibility of anything I publish under a pseudonym is iffy at best, but I hope people don’t discard it too quickly. What prompted me to write this was a discussion I had last night with someone about the Weberman trial. He told me that he had spoken to George Farkas in the Talkline studio when Farkas was interviewed by Zev Brenner. Farkas told him some “facts” about the case that made him doubt that Weberman was guilty. As we were arguing about it, he kept dismissing the credibility of her testimony and eighteen hours of cross-examination; he didn’t think that was enough to merit a verdict of guilty on all counts. As far as he was concerned, coming forward was no big deal, even after considering that Weberman was so well-respected, and that the Vaad Hatznius would do everything in its power to intimidate her into silence. Coming forward didn’t seem like that big a deal to him.

It’s a very big deal for a survivor to come forward about anything, especially publicly. What we need immediately after coming forward is validation. What we fear most, and what keeps us silent, is that people will not believe us and call us liars. Because we go through enough self-doubt in our own minds we don’t have the strength to handle it from others, especially not from an entire community. Every time someone calls a survivor a liar, it forces us to relive everything we experienced, to remember it and deconstruct it looking for any possibility that we are lying. We analyze it over and over to the point where we aren’t even sure ourselves if it happened or if we are exaggerating and making things up. As victims we trained ourselves to disregard our own emotions and to minimize our experiences so that they couldn’t overwhelm us, but as survivors that feeling never leaves. We’ve minimized our experiences to the point where our minds trick us into thinking they never existed. We blame ourselves, we doubt ourselves, and we beat ourselves up, both literally and figuratively, over whether or not it was our fault.

Coming forward and subjecting ourselves to public doubt and indifference is hell. Why can’t I come forward? Because you would never believe me. You would call me a liar. You would tell me that my mother is far too nice a person to be capable of such atrocity. You would tell me that I’m just looking for revenge against a community from which I feel disenfranchised. You would tell me that I’m trying to justify my aveiros by crying abuse.

I wish I could come forward with this like I’ve come forward with everything else, but none of you would understand. None of you would listen. None of you would care.

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11 thoughts on “I Can’t Come Forward and Share the Truth Because You Refuse to Listen

  1. After seeing what our sister “Dina” sacrificed by subjecting herself to ALL this intimidation, harassments, torture, and being re-victimised over and over again, it is to HER credit, that from now on, we shall listen with THREE ears. Not that we haven’t listened and believed till now, it was just that GOON SQUADS YIMACH SHEMAM VEZICHRAM that squelched the Korbonos cries and screams, don’t say such, such never happened, no one will believe you anyway, it could never had happened, even though nebach the child was begging and crying bidmaot sholish, ” OBER ES IZ AZOY GEVEHN”. No, not so, it is your word against the ENABLERS. Then came “the day after” effects, that the siblings would be thrown out from the schools, relatives as well. Before you know it, you are the outcast of the community, pashkevillin, motzi shem ra vechol shaar minei maros bishin asher lo neda. Yes, all this coming from all the way at the top, in cohoots with the execution goon squads, and shomrim squads, the plainclothes squads, and soon enough all your alleged friends become their eyes and ears to knock in the last nail in your coffin. Not anymore, this Mamme Rivka and mamme Ruchel changed the topography and the rules of the game. There actually exists a GOON SQUAD, and a MISHMERES HAZNIS SQUADS, many of their members are known Mishkav zecharim under cover, (former) Eishes Ish offenders or boel Aramis offenders, vechol asher poshat tlafav kechazir lechol nayshov, kol tzri vekol zav, nemishim shebenimishim, all one big happy family to offend, abuse, harass, intimidate, rule and govern with their enablers powers, JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN. Neh, how could you say that, it can’t be so, how can such anoshim mechubodim patronize shuch things? Well, fasten your seatbelts, EMBRACE for a splashdown crash landing, kvar hayou davar leaylom, The London Ir habiro had just unearthed a scoundrel that operated in such a very same manner. The chilull hashem that this chaim halpern caused is parallel to what’s being uncovered in the USA. He was sitting on top of the world, matir assirim with relaxing techniques he learned from other gedaylim, School principal, ball machshir(l), EREV (rav) kanoi and on and on. It was so unbelievable that London was in total shock, denial and all the same things that has been going on right under your nose in USA. This taught the world a lesson, that no one is above the HALACHA, YICHUD applies to little people as well as to the big people, and yes, all the way to the top. Same with RETZICHA, it applies to little children as well as to big children, NO ONE has a heter to spill blood, even if you scream, “YADENU LO SHAFCHA ET HADAM HAZE”. Not even heter meah ra bunim. No one one has a heter for SHFICHAS DAMIM, that includes ANOESS DVORIM, running after victims on the streets “moiser”, vechol shaar minei tinoyfes. Judgement day is here, Days of Reckoning are here and all those that have bloody hands, yipoga bahen midas hadin RACHMANA LITZLON. All this thanks to this BRAVE CHALUTZ, NACHSON ben AMINADAV, who jumped head over heels, veyehi ma, just to SAVE the future and present children from these obnoxious, dangerous menacing predators, together with the support of ALLLLLLLLLLL the Oskim Betzorchei Tzibur BeEmuno, blev ubenefesh ubemsiras haguf. May HASHEM PAY SCHARAM MISHALEM BAOLAM HAZEH UBEOLAM HABO. Thanks again to the alle yiddishe Mammes, YESH SCAHR LEPEULOSECH, VESHAVU KINDERLACH and ZISSE NESHAMALACH LIGVULOM, AMEN!

  2. Dear Victim Yosef (or whatever your real name is),

    You are WRONG, we do care and we ARE willing to listen. I have spent many a day and night telling my own client that YES, these things did happen to you, I have the emails from you where you told me it did, where you described what happened to you. I believed you then and I believe that it happened now. Why are you questioning yourself about it again?

    For one thing I believe that she did NOT want to believe it herself, as you said. How could anyone you loved and trusted, or especially someone who was supposed to love and protect you do such a horrific thing to you? And for another why do they deny it happened and others call you liar?

    It breaks my heart, and you don’t even know how much hearing story after story, that you experienced such an ordeal and kept it inside for so long. Kudos to you for breaking that particular lock on your prison door. I understand that it does not break you free of your prison of pain but at least it is an opportunity for you to open the door and allow you to take baby steps into the healing process.

    Please understand one thing. As sick as you are from all of this, YOU were NOT the sick one and YOU never were. It was SHE who was sick, very, very sick. If your father knew about any of this, or how sick she was then HE too was an accomplice to this and when you are able to, you might choose to speak to him about it. Yes, you will risk the usual of him NOT believing you, but then again, if he knew of the physical abuse and did nothing he is already complicit and might not be surprised at how far the abuse actually went.

    As far as the deniers are concerned. It is very difficult for anyone to fathom this kind of disgusting behavior. Truly it is hard to believe, not so much that the victim is lying but that it happens to begin with. It is just such a horrific, personally invasive, disgusting crime, that the very concept of it is just difficult to grasp. After all “who would do such a thing, its NOT normal”. One could even say that people are evil and they kill because of that, after all the Ten Commandments specifically speaks about killing. Or people are greedy, the Ten Commandments speaks about that as well, it even speaks about human nature and sexuality in reference to adultery. But THIS is just NOT human nature, it is unfathomable. I can see their point. But I KNOW BETTER. I know that ANYONE can be consumed by this illness, and more so I know that anyone can be a victim to it, it all depends on who the predator chooses.

    So please, use any means you can to release this poison that has built up inside of you. Tell your story here, on the internet, in person to an audience who are willing to understand, to your friends who are protective of you, in any “safe” environment you can find. And many at some point you can step over the line and come out in your own skin, with your chin up and shoulders back and speak for yourself and say “I don’t care anymore if you don’t choose to believe me, because I believe in myself. I know what happened to me and I know how it destroyed my life up until the time I realized that I wasn’t the sick one, that I wasn’t the evil person I was made to believe I was, that it wasn’t me, that I was only a child who should have been protected but instead I was molested, by my own mother!”

    Hatzlocha Raba to you and everyone out there like you.

  3. My heart hurts for you and all the pain you struggle with on a daily basis! May Hash-m send you the support you need because that is what gives one the koach to remain strong and keep going.

  4. Just by writing this is a huge 1st step, so pats on the back for you. When wqe say the term come forward it doesnt mean you have to do it in a piblic venuye like here, you already told your therapist and thats more than alot do. You will continue to heal and find your OWN path

  5. Did I misunderstand this post, or did he write that at 5 years old he felt a ‘need’ to masturbate because his mother was kissing him? If that’s what happened then yes, unfortunately, you have some major issues that need addressing.

    • Baal Daas,

      It is common daas (knowledge) that even a 5 year old touches himself. In most settings it only takes a tiny bit of parental coaxing to teach the kid no to do it in public. but parental influence can go both ways, and clearly, in this case the mother was encouraging it in her presence. We are not talking about the same sexual self play possible for someone into puberty. But yes, read any developmental psychology text which covers sexual issues in depth for that age and you will have less daas and less justification for your comment.

    • I wasn’t masturbating because she was kissing me, I was masturbating because she was kissing me like people kiss in foreplay scenes in movies. She was very specific with how she kissed me, usually in known erogenous zones which visibly aroused me. Thank God your parents didn’t do that to you, and if they did I hope they get crushed by a very slow moving bus. I never knew she saw me doing it until when I was around 6 or 7 and she told me she had seen me and started teasing me about it. Were I a parent in a situation where a five year old was masturbating, regardless of the reason and especially if I ere the cause, I would explain to the kid why he should not do that, why it was inappropriate, and why, if he were inclined to keep doing it anyway, he should not do it in front of other people. I would not watch. I would not tease. I would not continue causing him to do it. I would not continue arousing him.

      She used me to an extent like a surrogate husband. Have a look at this link and the sources cited at the bottom for a basic understanding. This was in addition to what I described above.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_incest

      There is no good reason to tell an eleven year old about the sex you’ve been having, the sex you’ve had, how your partner’s penis did not fit properly and therefore hurt you, how when you found another partner his penis felt so incredibly good it was like God had willed them to be together, how one partner had gotten too physical with you and you had pulled on his penis until he screamed…shall I go on? Have I validated myself enough to you? Or do you need more. I’m not sorry if I’ve offended your sense of propriety; stick to Yated if you want the “clean” version.

  6. yosef please please read this. not only am i listening to you i am writing daily on the net exposing the corrupt rabbinim and judges and system for failing all the children victims of indifference and hatred by tthe world who does not want to hear.

    i am the pedophile slayer of jerusalem i just got one of the worst offenders into jail now. its so huge because the rabbinim told the police to close down the case and the police looked me in the eyes in november and lied and said no date rape drugs and no perverts. after the judge agreed with me for the first time ever that dr damelin was a fake doctor and made the date rape drugs that she gave to another fake and dangerous doctor zalman cohen which were used to drug and rape thousands of victims over 20 years. cohen raped women and children including me.

    he then gave drugs to his friends to rape over 150 children just in my area. nachlaot pedophile scandal. so even the corrupt rabbinim could not stop a judge from finding cohen guilty and this means that the others paying bribes to stay out of jail are now going to be exposed to am ysrael for the maniacs they are. that there was evidence and it was hidden.

    i am 59 years old . if i am told a milion times that i am a good person i will never believe it. i dont like compliments. i dont trust anyone. i want to destroy this disgusting world. i dance in the rain in jerusalem screaming for hashem to destroy the perverts protectors. i know how you feel. ihope it helps you to know that you are not alone. i do care. and i do act. alone of course. and use my real name ruth (krinsky) cohen born 13 june l953 in haifa israel. i will not stop talking and exposing them until they kill me so i told the police man in charge. dont know why i am still alive.

    with my last breathe i will be telling the dirty secrets of the corrupt rabbinim here until they are all naked in front of am ysrael. when you come to israel please visit me. please.

  7. Thank you everyone for the supportive comments; they really mean a lot to me. It was a very big deal for me to write this piece and post it online, albeit anonymously, but you have all made it a pleasant experience.

    Sherree, thank you for the support but I am not your client. We have never spoken. Even if we had and i were your client, it’s probably not such a good idea to leave your clients public messages as comments on public blogs.

    a friend, thank you for the kind words. It’s a struggle to live with what happened to me, especially since it’s all so new. Like I said, most of the time I don’t even believe myself. One of my reasons for writing this was to help myself come to terms with my story. Now that it’s sort of “out there” I can refer back to it when I’m doubting myself.

    joeydiangello, I suppose I never thought about it that way. To me “coming forward” always meant publicly and to the police. Part of what helped me get help and start healing from the other abuse I experienced was coming forward and writing about it under my real name. Maybe one day I won’t have to be so scared of putting my name to my story. I still live at home and the repercussions of my family finding out that I have such accusations against my mother, or that this is the story I’m telling, are too much for me to realistically imagine. I would probably lose everything I have now if they ever find out. That’s one of the reasons this is such a big deal for me.

    ruth cohen, thank you for your support and what you’re doing over there. I wish you much hatzlacha in making this world a safer place.

  8. Hi Yossi

    Firstly I would like to wish you a lot of hatzolacha in your journey and may you soon regain your inner self and be a example for others,

    Also I sure you already read both of Kenneth adams books
    Silently saduced and when he is married to mom,

    Also I went to one of his workshops, it was really good, only thing is it over the weekend so I asked a rav to go, and the building it is in used to be a cristien school so lot of crosses.

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