The problem with being the purveyors of a product like “self-defense” is that most people think they know what you are offering, but very few really do. Say “self-defense”, even in Hebrew, and visions of Superman, TV wrestling, ninjas and stun guns dance in their heads. Tell them that your goal in teaching self-defense is societal change…blank stare.
So, when we go out to explain our programs, we don’t talk about “self-defense” and we don’t talk about “changing the world” . When we go out to special schools and afternoon programs for at-risk teens we talk about “violence prevention and life-skills”. When we present ourselves to social workers running programs for seniors, we talk about “self-efficacy and personal security”. When we talk to representatives in the Arab community we talk about ” helping defend the honor of the family”. WE know that the term “self-defense” or, as we sometimes refer to it “holistic self-defense” includes all of these and much, much more. But it doesn’t sell.
Today’s story from the Hebrew press is another self-defense success story… but not the kind your average person would recognize as such. It is the story of a sexual predator immersed in one of the safest places he could possibly be: a religious institution serving disabled children.
According to the report Crimes Against People With Disabilities, 2007 (U.S. Department of Justice, October 2009), based on the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), persons with a disability had an age-adjusted rate of rape or sexual assault that was more than twice the rate for persons without a disability.
So, plenty of victims to choose from and here we are, talking about 10-13 year-old autistic boys from religious families. How much safer could a sexual predator be?
What were the odds that one of these boys would have the courage and the ability to tell his parents what was happening to him? What were the odds that these parents would take their son’s horrible allegations seriously enough to approach the school administration and that, when they saw the administration was acting in a way that might protect their son, but would leave the perpetrator free to prey upon others, that they would go to the police? What was the chance that the police would pursue a case that boils down to the word of a few autistic boys against a teacher with no criminal record? Unbelievable!!!
The boy, his parents, the police… heroes every one of them! Why? Because…. What were the odds????
But what if we could change the odds? What if kids could stand up for themselves against adults that abuse them? What if they could tell and be believed? What if parents could report and not be shunned? What if police could pursue these criminals knowing that no one would be afraid to tell the truth?
What if sexual predators had nowhere to hide?
Holistic self-defense. It could change the world.
Suspected: A Rabbi At A Yeshiva for Autistic Boys is Suspected of Sodomy
The heads of the yeshiva, located in Ramot, were interrogated after they chose not to involve the police even though they were aware of the rabbi’s actions. The suspected was arrested after parents of a student in the yeshiva registered a complaint with the police.
Yossi Eli 20-11-2009
ww.nrg.co.il (translated from the Hebrew)
Turmoil erupted at a yeshiva for autistic children in Ramot. Last weekend, police arrested a rabbi and teacher at the yeshiva (30) on suspicion of engaging in a series of indecent acts and sodomy against autistic children aged 10-13 learning at the institution over a period of years. The arrest of the rabbi became possible when one of the students complained about the acts to his parents.
The issue became known to the rabbis managing the yeshiva last year when one of the children complained to his parents that the rabbi would touch him and, thus, reach sexual satisfaction. The parent turned to the rabbis, who decided not to go to the police but, rather, to deal with the issue within the walls of the yeshiva.
The rabbis decided to remove the teacher from the yeshiva and appoint a new one. With that, the parents of the youth who garnered the strength to reveal the incident decided not to let the matter rest. They issued a complaint at the Shafat Police Station, that, then, opened an investigation. In the course of the investigation, the rabbis of the yeshiva were interrogated with the warning that they were suspected of covering-up the incident. They were released shortly thereafter.
“We are talking about reliable young men”
The teacher was arrested and brought for interrogation to the Shafat Police Station. In the course of the investigation, he denied the acts attributed to him and insisted that he had not committed sodomy but, rather, was accustomed to hugging and kissing the children in a fatherly manner. As the investigation continued, in order to check the reliability of the complaints, a psychologist was invited to the institution to speak with the youngsters.
The psychologist testified that these were trustworthy young men and that the police could rely on their testimony.
The police suspect that the teacher was involved in several additional incidents involving other autistic boys that learn at the yeshiva. They intend to interview other boys learning at that same yeshiva.
The teacher was brought to the Municipal Court in the city to extend his detention before Judge Morris Ben Atar who decided to extend his detention for four more days.
The police reported that “the suspect is a resident of one of the settlements close to Modiin Ilit, a normal man with no criminal past, married and the father of five. It is the police’s intention to recommend a indictment against the man.”
The teacher’s attorney, Arnon Eitan, reported in response that “from the beginning we determined that these were old allegations that were dealt with by the “educational institution more than a year ago. And since, the matter ended. Even the present investigation came to the same conclusion.”