Orthodox Jewish Child Abuse: Shattering a Traumatic Silence 8/1/11 Eishes Chayil – Author, ‘Hush’
….Three weeks ago, in Borough Park, 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky walked home from day camp. He got lost. He asked a man for directions. The man seemed safe. He wore a kippa. He did not wear jeans….
The ultra-Orthodox world of Brooklyn came to a terrifying halt. Tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews froze in horror. They recoiled in shock. They gathered together, bound in their mind-bending grief, people weeping in the streets, asking the questions again and again.
….For the hundreds of victims of sexual abuse who have lived through childhood in fear and silence, this is not a new question. They did not know the words sexual, abuse or molestation, but lived day after day through the raw horror of it, leaving old scars still bleeding like open wounds. How does a teacher, a counselor, an uncle, do such a thing? And why did nobody warn us about it, they ask.
I accidentally learned what the words molestation and rape meant at age 23, after telling a therapist I met about something I had witnessed happening to a friend when we were children. Suddenly I realized I had been talking to strangers all my life. After I started meeting with victims and speaking with therapists, I began to encounter the community’s wall of denial. These are things Jews don’t do, I was told. It was easy to say it was all a lie or just faulty memories of childhood.
When I first tried to write about abuse in our community, to use the words needed to describe what was happening to so many children, I was firmly told not to.
Some subjects are better left in silence, the rabbis said. Orthodox Jews did not need such words. Those were words for gentiles. We had built walls and had built them high; the outside world could never enter. But as the walls grew higher and wider, we forgot look inside, to see that the most dangerous enemy always grows from within.
….Children have always gotten hurt in our world — sometimes quickly, walking home from school, sometimes slowly, piece by piece, over years of abuse and terror. Perhaps we live in a world that is black and white, perhaps we want to keep it that way, but we must at least know that there is still a whole lot of gray in it, strangers live among friends and that such words, after all, are very complicated to define.
2 women sue archdiocese for alleged sex abuse
Separate suits claim recovered memories of 1950s incidents
By Manya A. Brachear, Tribune reporter
August 3, 2011
Two women filed separate lawsuits against the Chicago Archdiocese on Tuesday, alleging they were sexually abused in the 1950s by a priest at St. Peter Damian Catholic Church in Bartlett.
In the suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court, Patricia Vestey and Kathryn Joan Ebeling, both in their 60s, say they repressed memories of abuse at the hands of the Rev. Thomas Barry Horne for several decades. It wasn’t until they learned that others had accused Horne of abuse that their recollections began to surface, the suit said. Horne retired in 1973 and has since died.
Frederic Nessler, the Springfield attorney representing both women, said the archdiocese refused to settle out of court.