Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Intimate Taboo

The mikveh was unexpectedly steamy, hot, and oh yes, bubbling full of hot air. The regular frummie gossipers were quivering in the rabbeinu tam’s gatches, unmistakably shaken. The most recent shocker: The Chassidic community has been collectively tortured and is under attack. One of our own, Rabbi Lebovits, was convicted this week on eight counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, and then some.

There were the usual guys railing against lowly pedophiles and that they deserve more prison time than Al Capone. On the other hand there were the usual Mesira hacks screaming bloody traitor against anybody who has a hand in this whole stinky affair. Then there was Moshe. He was certain that the damage to the sexually abused child is definitely over-hyped by fantasizing and dramatizing Psychologists, who love to make a big to-do about every other nothing.

How can a bit of extra touching, especially to a child who has no clue of what’s happening to him, do any substantive damage to the child’s psyche? This has got to be a good excuse for every delinquent out there. How foolish of the so-called ‘child advocates’ to perpetuate this argument? And isn’t it really brilliant to shove this farce under the rug? And he has proof too. Only crazies stand up to claim abuse…

Moshe also noted that abused children deserve some blame too. For instance, Moshe's father, a prominent aged rabbi in our community, would never allow him to go to the mikveh until after his Bar Mitzva, and even then, only once a week. I subtly proposed to him that perhaps his father had some first-hand experience as a victim…

Moshe was offended. I pursued this further. “Let’s assume your father is a victim, does this somehow diminish his stature? We’ll agree that his abuser aint a saint, but what does this say about your father?” Ironically, he claimed that I should understand that it is offensive for anyone, especially someone in our sheltered community, to have his private intimate life discussed by others.

For some odd reason, the irony was lost on him…

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