Thursday, February 23, 2006

Preventing Sexual Abuse - A Public Service Message


Most of the material on this blog is useless. I know it. You know it. I write it, you read it, and we both move on. But today I am going to write about sexual abuse.

I have come across a number of blogs over the past few days that are dealing with sexual abuse. The Unorthodox Jews are in the middle of trying to get a yeshiva to fire a rebbi who has been abusing boys for the past thrity years. And Dave had a great post about how the orthodox community has been looking the other way when it comes to sexual predators. Angry Soul has an entire blog talking about his experience being sexually abused over a seven year period. According to Angry Soul, his abuser, a counselor in camp, admitted to abusing over 100 kids during his teenage years.

There are other blogs I have seen talking about sexual abuse, but I haven't seen anyone talking about how to protect your kids from being abused.

As many of you know, I am not a therapist. I have never been sexually abused, and while I do know peple who have been abused, I have never had a discussion about that aspect of their lives with them.

Still, I am a parent, with three kids to protect, and many of you are parents as well, with kids who need to be protected.

Statistically, in the US, something like 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused in some manner at some point in their lives, which means it a pretty prevelent problem, and not one that as a parent you can afford to ignore.

I have a client, the Self Esteem Shop, which specializes in mental health books. They have an extensive section on sexual abuse, both in terms of prevention and recovery, for children of all ages, and for adults as well. I write their catalogs, and as their copywriter, I have flipped through many of these books, and read quite a few of the kids books from cover to cover.

This comes from the Child Advocacy Center.

Protecting your child from sexual abuse:

Let your child know that he or she can tell you anything and you will always be supportive.

Teach your child that no one, not even a teacher or a close relative, has the right to touch him or her in a way that feels uncomfortable. Teach your child that it is OK to say, "No, get away," and to tell a trusted adult about the incident.

Don't force kids to kiss, hug or sit on a grown-up's lap if they don't want to. This gives them control and teaches them that they have the right to refuse.

Always know where your child is and whom he or she is with.

Tell your child to stay away from strangers who hang around playgrounds, public restrooms and schools.

Be alert for changes in your child's behavior that could signal sexual abuse, such as sudden secretiveness, withdrawal from activities, refusal to go to school, unexplained hostility toward a favorite baby-sitter or relative, or increased anxiety. Some physical signs of abuse include bedwetting, loss of appetite, venereal disease, nightmares and complaints of pain or irritation around the genitals or anus.

If your child has been sexually abused, report it to the police or a child protection agency immediately.

If your child is a victim of sexual abuse, don't blame him or her. Listen and provide safety.

You can talk to your children about sexual abuse without ever using the term "Sexual Abuse." Use phrases like safe touches, and make sure to tell kids that they can always come to you to talk.

As I mentioned above, I write catalogs for the Self Esteem Shop, and here are a few titles I have read through. The prices are the current prices at the Self Esteem Shop's web site, selfesteemshop.com

Preschool Age

Always Be Careful - This safety manual teaches preschool age children (ages 3-5) the ABC's of good and bad touches and personal safety. $3

Andy/Annie - These books, were written for young children. Andy/Annie is confused when a person she knows touches her private parts. Issues include feeling alone, disclosure, and changes in character. Andy is for boys, Annie is for girls. $2.50

It's My Body - A book to teach young children how to resist uncomfortable touch. $5.95

Grade School

My Body is Private - This book teaches kids that their body is their own personal space, and no one should touch them without their permission. $5.95

Sam Speaks Out - When Sam is inappropriately touched by a neighbor, it makes him feel sad and act out. He tells a friend, and she helps him find someone who can help him with his problem. Soon, Sam is back to his old self. 4.95

A Very Touching Book - Using humor, children learn about their body parts as well as privacy, their private parts, and the difference between good and bad touches, including what to do in case of a bad touch. 12.95

Red Flag Green Flag People - This personal safety manual teaches early elementary age children the difference between good and bad touches, and teaches what to do in the event of a bad touch. Facilitators guide available. Appropriate for children ages 4-10. For some reason this book is not on their web site. It is the follow up
book to Always Be Careful, which I mentioned in the preschool section.

For Parents -

Protect Your Child From Sexual Abuse - Janie Hart-Rossi shows parents how to protect their children from sexual abuse. She begins with the facts on sexual abuse, an eye opening experience for many parents. She then offers some key phrases for children, so they can resist uncomfortable touches, and gives specific activities so you can reduce the likelihood of your child ever getting molested. Companion to It's My Body. 7.95

posted by Air Time


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this thoughtful post.

jeanette friedman sieradski said...

UOJ: You need to talk to the women, to the mothers. In addition to breaking the cycle, I had lots of work to do with the women who were battered. If you think boys are tough to mobilize, you should see how hard it is for their mothers, esp. if they, too are being abused.

Jewish Women International has a website that has many kbs devoted to what and how to do things when you are being abused. There's info on how to help friends, and seriously, someone needs to go to Hynes' office and talk to Ed Gluck.

The part that kills me is not Lanner (my neighbors, his victims the Hillers, pushed for decades and w/o Gary it wouldn't have been resolved), it's those 3 gang rapists from Bobov who never saw the inside of a jail cell. And BTW, complaints about Kolka go back a very long time.
Kol haKavod for your courage. My life (and all my kids' lives, incl. mobius') was threatened on AOL when I exposed this stuff in 95-97(?) I hope you are making sure you have proper protection and that someone is watching your back!


tt parents said...


We Be (of enduoj) is admitting he made a mistake calling UOJ a mechalel shabbos and says he begs uoj for mechilah.

He wrote it on the blog he and his clowns created called endouj.blogspot.com (he can't even spell his own name right the 'o' and the 'u' are reversed).

Un-Orthodox Jew said...


Thanks for your kind words.
Actually I'm a "mild mannered reporter" that had no intentions of becoming "Superman" until the hundreds and hundreds of gut wrenching e-mails and stories that were verified as absolute facts.

I am fearless; I am doing God's work, no wonder he needed Shabbos to rest!:)

concerned bystander said...


How should UOJ go about watching his back. What precautions did you take? What are the legalities around blogging? Does one have to have a subpoena? I think UOJ should take this seriously.

concerned bystander

Anonymous said...

The other blog is a microcosm of all that is Wrong in the community.

I happen to know for a fact that Kolko molested 2 of my classmates.
Kolko has been protected at the expense to the safety of our children.

The other blog is idiotic and lacks any insight. Rabbi Schorr commenting on the UOJ blog without reviewing it's contents, is completely irresponsible .

I applaud UOJ and would faster give my hand to him drowning then any of these so called Rav’s that continue to enable Kolko and other molesters.

Anonymous said...

Are you really interested in truth?Just because someone makes an accusation, doesn't make it true. Do you think that a counselor actually had a Ferrari? Do you think that 100s of kids were molested without anyone coming forward. Would someone be able to hang a boy over Niagara Falls without many people seeing it?

Most of all do you think a camp director would allow such a person to stay in camp and come back year after year? That certainly doesn't make good business sense.

FrumHypocrisy said...

It is really hard to believe that so many people would support Kolko without even attempting to investigate this matter on their own. I don't think that many are opposing you because they are naive and want to believe that people are inherently good. They simply don't care. Apathy is the common denominator for the causes of many of the serious problems we face today. Shidduchim, poverty, and of course abuse, is allowed to continue because many are more concerned about their custom sheitels and Toyota Avalons than the family next door who can barely afford to feed their children. Apathy is the downfall of Klal Yisroel.

Anonymous said...

Would someone be able to hang a boy over Niagara Falls without many people seeing it?

Most of all do you think a camp director would allow such a person to stay in camp and come back year after year? That certainly doesn't make good business sense.
You are so off base , you are pathetic.
Firstly niagra is so not the correct parralel.
Most abusers to thier thing in a hidden place, niagra is fully exposed . Number two, you are totally clueless to this sickness of pedophelia. Do some research before you embaress your self any further.
the reason why kids dont come forward is because they were threatened by thier molesters.
Lastly, camps dont throw out those couselors for several reasons . One of the main reasons is because they are afraid of thier camp getting a bad name, which would mean the camp would have to close its doors.
Go do some home work before you open that big mouth of yours.
same reasons apply to schools, but mostly chadarim

Anonymous said...

I don't know how to quote but this is to the person who said that it can't be true because kids would have come forward. You don't know the half of it. I'm in another country. We don't have the big frum community you have in NY but we have a community. We have masorti, haredi and hassidish communities. I'm 16. My father started to use me sexually when I was 10 and to allow other men to use me when I was 12. My family are shomrei mitzvot and hassidish. I don't know how much abuse there is out there I only know about my own. Why haven't I come forward? Because at first I was scared about what my father was doing to me. Then, when I told someone at cheder they told me it was lashon hara. When I told my father that if he didn't stop I would call the police he laughed in my face and told me that no one would believe me and that everyone would believe him. What's the final reason I put up with being used by these "men"? Because they have promised me that while I cooperate they won't touch my little brother and since I have no worthwhile life of my own now, his safety is all I care about. You should listen to us victims sometimes. It seems so simple to other people: you're being hurt - tell someone. Tell someone that a guy who is regularly called a tzaddik is raping you? They told me there would be cherem against me if I spoke to goyishe authorities. They tell me that using a boy is nothing because there is no question of virginity. They tell me that it's because I'm gay that they are able to do this - it's my fault. What should I do? If they tell that I'm gay I'll never have a shidduch. My zayde and bubbe will die of shame. I have no life outside my community - I couldn't live in the world out there. So, I hate myself for going along with this and I pray that HaShem will forgive me because he knows I do it to protect my brother. I can't even kill myself because I would be leaving him alone. So, to the person who said if it were true people would know - learn a shtickle torah. We are scared and frightened and we can't talk. Thank you UOJ for giving us a voice.