Over the past few weeks our news has been filled with horrible stories of leaders in the faith community, sexually abusing -- and thus wreaking havoc on, the innocent and pure life of children, teenagers, and parishioners, all who have come to the leaders of their respective faiths to connect to the spiritual core of life.
Instead of receiving education, guidance and spiritual support, have been abused, even warned to be silent as they were being robbed of their innocence by the very people they trusted most!
Those of us who know victims of such abuse also know the lifelong pain and suffering these victims go through because of the memories that haunt them. The abusers are creeps who come in all colors, creeds and faiths. They are responsible for years of pain and sleepless nights of countless innocent people.
Perhaps what is equally or maybe even more disturbing is the level of secrecy the abusers are afforded by their colleagues or superiors to keep the acts hidden and thus we are unable prevent the abuse from continuing, especially on more victims. And there are those in power who, when their despicable acts come to light, conspire. In so many cases, across the lines of different faiths, to actually pretend the problem does not exist, and transfer the abuser elsewhere. Frankly, it is reminiscent of reports in the public schools where a suspected child molester is transferred to another school.
Instead of immediate outrage and immediate actions that could halt such despicable behavior, there seems to be more concern and sensitivity for the creeps! What about the victim? What about the many victims who are too filled with fear or shame to speak up! What about the innocent children who, because of the bizarre silence of those who are in the know, will end up as victims even more damaged, because they feel the lack of concern!
The silence of those who could have put a stop to this atrocious behavior is deafening! When someone who is aware of sexual molestation, especially of a child, and who has the ability to put an end to it, fails to act, that person becomes an accomplice and must be held accountable.
Creeps do not conform to stereotypes. They could be any occupation or profession, or as we have seen, even, teachers, priests, rabbis. But if our true interests lays for the safety and betterment of our communities, and particularly the most vulnerable among us -- children, then we ought to put all other considerations aside, and break the silence, lest one more innocent child be violated.
The great Chassidic master Rabbi Joseph Issac of Lubavitch would say, before one becomes a Chasid (a person of piety) first you need to be a mentch (a good human being). Indeed it seems like a rule that could be applied to all walks of faith, that is, if you are aware of an outright abuse being perpetrated, the mentch way is to act! Do something about it! Be a mentch!