Malka Leifer and the Skeptical Social Worker

Malka Leifer

Malka Leifer

I was reading the text of the court ruling* awarding more than a million dollars damages to the woman sexually assaulted by her Adass Israel School principal, Malka Leifer. This jumped out at me:

[In 2007] the plaintiff consulted Ms Chana Rabinowitz, a counsellor/social worker, concerning her symptoms. The plaintiff saw Ms Rabinowitz on five or six occasions and then ceased seeing her. The plaintiff said she stopped seeing Ms Rabinowitz because she did not appear to believe that she was sexually abused by Leifer. Eventually, the plaintiff resumed sessions with Ms Rabinowitz after she confirmed the plaintiff’s allegations with the plaintiff’s sister and a person at the School. (page 57, section 155)

It shocked me for several reasons.

It was proof that the Adass Israel School knew Malka Leifer molested her students and yet kept her on as principal until 2008 at which time they knew of a total of 8 victims.

Mrs. Chana Rabinowitz is a staff social worker at Darchei Binah Seminary (according to a blurb for Mrs. Debbie Fox’s book, Seminary Savvy, 2015). It raises the possibility that we are dealing with a therapist unwilling to believe a victim of sexual abuse without corroboration from other sources. This pattern makes it less likely victims get necessary support and contributes to the underestimation and under-reporting of sexual abuse. Continue reading