A Survivor Asks David Pelcovitz to Stop Writing Letters for Abusers

Dr. David Pelcovitz  (Prof of Education & Psychology, YU)

Dr. David Pelcovitz
(Prof of Education & Psychology, YU)

The following email was sent today by a survivor of abuse to Dr. David Pelcovitz in the light of the controversy (see David Cheifetz, David Morris, and Jewish WhistleBlower) surrounding his letter in defense of Evan Zauder, who pled guilty to charges of child pornography and sexual activity with a minor.

From: Asher Lovy
Date: Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 12:50 PM
Subject: Evan Zauder
To: Dr. David Pelcovitz

A lot of controversy has been surrounding the letter you sent to the judge presiding over Evan Zauder’s sentencing. I’m sure you’re receiving scores of angry and infuriated emails. Whether or not you knew the full extent of Zauder’s crimes when you sent that letter I’ll leave for other people to challenge. For now, I think a different point must be addressed.

You present yourself as an advocate for survivors of abuse. You are a psychologist. You understand the dynamics of being a survivor, what it takes to get a survivor to talk about what happened to them, and what a survivor needs to heal. The single most important factor for every survivor of abuse, and the one thing that must be present before any healing can begin, is trust–the ability to trust the people they open up to.

Being myself a survivor, I know from my own personal experience, from my friends and their experience, that trust can be very hard to come by. We’ve all had our trust betrayed more times than we can count. Some of us are lucky enough to find people whom we can trust enough to open up to; some of us are still looking. Being in the position that you are, you are someone survivors will come to. You are someone that needs to be trustworthy.

Regardless of your personal opinions concerning a specific case or person, regardless of whether or not you think a convicted sex offender deserves a lighter sentence, regardless of whether or not you think someone is capable of rehabilitation, you can’t be the one to say that to a judge. You can’t put your name, your advocate’s name, the name survivors come to when they’re looking for someone to trust and open up to, on something that support a sex offender. Doing so erodes any trust that you have with survivors now, and makes them wary of you in the future. You cannot advocate for both the victims and the abusers.

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