In recent decades, many religious groups have come under scrutiny as more and more victims of sexual abuse found the strength to come forward and make public their traumatic experiences.
These alarming allegations of sexual abuse within religious communities did not escape Jewish synagogues, rabbis, or the Jewish community as a whole.
Learn more from our team of attorneys, about sexual assault in religious communities: https://abuseguardian.com/catholic-church-sexual-abuse-lawsuit/
If you were the victim of such abuse, know that you are not alone. Contact our experienced team of attorneys today to learn more about the powerful legal options at your disposal in a free and confidential consultation.
Continue Reading: Jehovah’s Witnesses Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
The sexual abuse attorneys at Abuse Guardian have experience with claims against large religious organizations. Accordingly, our lawyers and entire team passionately believe that, through the civil justice system, victims of sexual assault can bring about change in the same religious communities that protected the abusers who victimized them.
We work every day to help these brave victims make continuous progress towards this compelling objective. If you're a victim seeking justice, we will be there to guide you through every step of the legal process.
For victims of sexual abuse in Jewish synagogues, pursuing justice can initially appear as an exercise in futility. It's likely that previous reports of abuse against rabbis and other religious leaders were met with doubt and resistance if not outright backlash.
Long-standing traditions and hierarchy within religious organizations have permitted abuse to continue unchecked for many decades. Almost as if by design, reports of sexual abuse of minors, as well as adults, are systematically swept under the rug.
However, this is hardly the only aspect of the community that predisposes members to be sexually assaulted.
Religious leaders such as rabbis are generally highly-regarded within their synagogues and communities. When it comes to the word of a rabbi or that of an unconfirmed victim of sexual abuse, the former's testimony will generally be given more weight. Unfortunately, this undisputable (if not blind) trust also makes religious settings such as Jewish synagogues a prime environment for sexual abuse to manifest.
Sexual abusers understand the power dynamic that is in place, and they use it to commit their hateful acts with impunity.
While the hierarchical structure and inherent trust placed in leaders have helped create a setting where abuse can thrive, it has also been alleged that within the Orthodox Jewish community, reporting a fellow member to the authorities before consulting the matter internally is effectively forbidden.
As recently as 2011, an official statement from the same community specifically established that reports of sexual abuse of minors needed to be raised internally before being brought to local authorities. It goes without saying that, with more obstacles between a claim of abuse and an official report from the authorities, the less likely that commissioned investigations will take place.
Such a lack of transparency should be of concern to all. With so many victims coming forth with their reports of sexual abuse within synagogues, one can only imagine how many others haven't had the chance to have their voices heard.
Fortunately, the legal tide is turning and today more than ever, religious communities that enable sexual abuse are being held responsible by victims in court.
Child sex abuse survivors from Hasidic Jewish communities are often shamed or guilted into silence.
The Jerusalem Post conducted an investigation, interviewing a large number of rabbis in communities to inquire about their views on reporting child molestation and other forms of child sex abuse. Most interviewees felt that allegations should be strictly handled within the community.
Victims describe being told to consider the effects of telling outsiders of their experiences, with rabbis often trying to convince them to forgive the perpetrator or scare them into believing that publicity would harm their reputation and marriage prospects or have a negative effect on the perpetrator’s family.
Different victims have different reasons for why they did not speak up earlier about incidents of abuse - if they ever speak about them at all.
In many cases, victims feel shame about their experiences. They are often confused about exactly what happened, and may even have difficulty verbalizing the events to someone else. Moreover, there's the fear of others not believing their accounts because the perpetrator was someone of high regard in their community. Many also hope that by moving past the abuse and burying memories, they will be able to quiet the pain and go back to normal.
These are in addition to other retaliatory measures by religious communities against sexual abuse victims such as forced loss of employment, evictions from homes, and removing children from academic institutions.
Ultimately, victims who speak up against abuse are likely to become completely isolated from and ostracized by a community they grew up in; it's not difficult to see why so many chose to repress their trauma and attempt to move on.
In recent years, momentous civil lawsuits have been brought against Jewish synagogues as well as other nationwide religious groups. Victims have managed to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in financial damages for the traumatic experiences they suffered and the permanent effect it had on their lives.
Even in cases where the abuse occurred decades in the past, victims have been given the opportunity to hold responsible those who caused them harm so many years ago.
As a result of the success of so many victim claims, religious groups throughout the country have started conducting internal investigations in an attempt to excise abusers from within their echelons. They've also been forced to implement new procedures for handling reports as they arise.
However, these changes are not nearly enough. There remains an unknown though potentially large number of instances of sexual abuse within Jewish synagogues and other religious communities, and the experienced sexual assault attorneys who form part of Abuse Guardian are prepared to take them on.
If you or someone you know were the victims of sexual assault in a synagogue, schedule a free consultation with our team today. There is a true possibility of achieving justice, but statutes of limitations can abusers from facing the full extent of the law so don't delay in getting your case started.