It is a fact that sexual assault is more often than not perpetrated by someone we know and trust. It can be someone in your family, a neighbor, a coworker…or even a respected clergy member.
Sexual abuse and the clergy have a very unfortunate link, which–thanks to the media–we largely associate with Catholicism. What you may not have heard, however, is that Judaism is facing a similar epidemic.
Enter Sima Yarmush, an incredibly resilient young frum woman from Santa Monica, Calif., who was brave enough to share her story in front of hundreds of people and the Internet at large. Yarmush was molested by a young rabbi in her community for nearly two years, and when she told her parents, they reacted as any good parents would: they did their best to bring the man to justice.
The rabbis and Halachic advisors of her community, however, were not as accommodating, and pressured Yarmush and her family to stay silent to avoid risking the rabbi’s reputation. The rabbi was allowed to continue working with families, and he claimed more little girls as victims even long after he transferred to another community. Only recently, as a result of Yarmush’s partnership with Jewish Community Watch, has he suffered a single consequence for his actions.
I’ll let Yarmush tell the rest of her heartbreaking and uplifting story in the video below. But as a fellow sexual assault survivor, I commend her for taking this massive and important step. To have people you love and trust not only violate you, but then refuse to believe you when you ask for help, is some of the most intense and life-altering pain one can go through. To speak out about it with the strength and poise she did is an even bigger feat.
Watch the video below, and learn more about how you can help Sima Yarmush spread her message here.