Posts Tagged ‘people with disabilities’

Changing The World

In Children, Sexual Assault on November 21, 2009 at 23:34

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.”

Everyday Heroes: Mom Stands Up For Disabled Daughter

In Children, Crime in Israel, Sexual Assault on August 6, 2009 at 12:54

I wish I could tell you that this incident, a family friend sexually assualting an 11 year old girl with neurological problems,  is unusual. It’s not. Not in the Western world. Not in the Eastern world. Not anywhere.

A study conducted in 2000 found that 17% of women with disabilities reported that they had experienced  rape or sexual and / or physical assault as opposed to 9% of women without disabilities. According to a 1998 report, 16% of children at-risk (a total of about 330,000) suffered from abuse or neglect. The greatest number of these were children from poor or out-of-work families and children with disabilities, especially cognitive or behavioral disabilities.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there are special parents like the one in this story who hear the most horrendous stories from their children and find within themselves the courage to believe and support them.

Look at the web of lies this criminal spun around this child. How he won the trust of her family and tried to use her cognitive difficulties against her. And look how this family worked together to stop the abuse and restore a sense of self-respect and trust to this girl.

V. and family, we salute you. May you continue to see the fruits of your courage in the face of deception.

Mom Rescues Disabled Daughter From Sexual Predator

Mom Rescues Disabled Daughter From Sexual Predator

The mother of the 11 year-old girl who reported that she had been raped by a family friend said that it was unbelievable that this ‘nice grandfatherly figure’ did such terrible things to her. “I trusted him”

Zohar Sosanko Aug. 8, 2009

V., the mother of the 11 year-old girl allegedly raped by Charl Sitbon, a 69 year-old resident of Netanya and family friend, reported in a conversation with Maariv/NRG how her daughter described to her the terrible things done to her by  the “nice grandfatherly figure” they knew.

According to the mother, her daughter told her about the terrible things Sitbon had done to her only after a cousin of the mother convinced the girl to do so.

“I was in shock,” The mother described her reaction after hearing what her daughter had to say. “She told me things and described things that a little girl could not possibly know without having experienced them.”

The mother said” “Since then, I haven’t slept. I imagine what happened and it’s hard for me to breathe. Each time, he told her: ‘Don’t forget that it is our secret. If your mother finds out, I will get in trouble and so will you.’ I explained to her that it was not her fault.” The suspect was transporting the girl to and from medical treatments.

Five years ago, a month after V. moved to Israel from France, her daughter was in a serious accident; she was hit by a car while crossing the street. As a result, the girl was hospitalized unconscious for three weeks. Since then, she has required regular treatments for neurological problems.

The mother said that two years ago, she met Sitbon at an event arranged by the municipality in honor of immigrants from France.

“He helped me. He drove us to my daughter’s treatments,” she said. “Sometimes, he took my daughter shopping so she could get out of the house a little and did not always have to be with me. Then he did these things to her.”

She added that he was practically the only person she could rely upon in Israel. He was 69 and my daughters looked upon him as a ‘grandfather’. I wasn’t worried because he was married with children and grandchildren. I never thought about things like this.”

Immediately after her daughter told her what happened V. called the suspect and asked him to come over. “I told him that I needed to speak with him,” she described. “I asked him what he did to my daughter. He replied that something was wrong with her, that she was a liar, and then he left. We went immediately to the police .

The mother added that, according to the girl, the suspect had committed a series of indecent assaults over the course of the last year and always warned her not to tell. Nonetheless, the mother points out that she sees in retrospect that it was becoming increasingly difficult for her daughter to be around Sitbon.

“When he would come, she would say: ‘If that is Charl, I do not want to see him. He annoys me.’ Still, I never believed that it was something like this.

She noted that one time her daughter told her that she had slapped the suspect. When she asked the child why she had hit him, she responded: “Just because.” The mother even asked Sitbon, who responded, “She is abnormal.”

After Sitbon’s arrest ,the mother said that she started to see positive changes in the child’s behavior. “We see that since she told her entire story,  she feels better.  She has taken a great weight off of her shoulders.

The mother explained that her daughter is afraid she made a mistake. “I told her she is not responsible for what happened, she added. “He did ‘not-nice’ things to you and you had to tell so he can be punished for what he did.” She said that she never wants to see him again.

In conclusion, the mother said: “I want to tell mothers to be careful with their children and with people like this, in particular single mothers.”

Amen to that.