|Dave Gordon z"l in action with Givati Brigade|
Dave Gordon went missing this week from the IDF and was found dead today, with his weapon at his side.
As soon as he made Aliya from Detroit, alone, at 21, Dave contacted Magen, the Child Protection Organization based in Beit Shemesh, Israel.
Dave introduced himself as a survivor of child abuse, who now wanted to help others who had suffered similar trauma, and to also raise awareness about the scourge of abuse, in order to prevent further children from being hurt.
Dave's path of coming to terms with his past, and channeling his personal creative talents towards child protection, culminated in a remarkable article he wrote in the Huffington Post, "Why I'm Choosing Leadership Over Privacy".
Dave describes the multiple acts of abuse he suffered as a child, particularly over a period of his life between 8-11. There were several perpetrators of whom four were from his Jewish community.Dave writes about how he divulged his secrets to local rabbis in Detroit, and his disappointment in their response.
Dave concluded his article:
This must stop! If we keep sweeping our problems under the rug we will eventually trip over them. The time has come for us to stand up for ourselves, our children and our communities. It's time to sacrifice the comfort of not tackling serious issues that are awkward and embarrassing and focus on the dignity of human life. If I can have a voice you can too. Take a stand and be a real leader. Blush for a few moments so others don't have to bleed.
One reason why victims of abuse are also called survivors is because so many don't make it. So many are too ashamed to reach out and frequently fall into depression, violence, addiction and ultimately into death's arms. But we can be brave and stand up for what we know is right. Together our voices can be louder than ever. I know that I alone cannot change the world, but together we can make a difference.
When Dave contacted Magen to volunteer, the organization saw Dave's talent for writing, social media - and his deep-set passion for justice and for child protection.
Dave set up a website for Magen, established & promoted media relations, and also helped with specific child protection cases. For example, as a result of Dave's intervention, a known perpetrator was blocked by Magen from continuing his work in an orthodox summer camp for hundreds of kids in the USA.
When Dave was accepted in the IDF, he temporarily excused himself from taking on further projects with Magen: "Sorry I have been out of touch things - have been quite hectic in the army!"
For Dave, entering the IDF with the prestigious Givati Brigade, completing his grueling combat training, and doing active service in the Operation Protective Edge, was a culmination of Dave's recuperation and rejuvenation. In a last message on his Facebook page, Dave wrote: "unbelievably overwhelmed, not from this mission but from the support and messages of encouragement from family, friends and strangers. I am OK and I've never felt more loved. Thank you all!"
Dave was an embattled & courageous abuse survivor, an eloquent and passionate child protection advocate, and a heroic soldier in the IDF.
Veyehi zichro baruch - his memory should be for a blessing.