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Heartbreaking

Religious Leader Found Guilty of Horrific Sexual Abuse Because of One Extremely Brave Victim

by Sasha Brown-Worsham on December 11, 2012 at 7:58 AM

Hasidic abuseIn a stunning and hopefully culture changing verdict, Nechemya Weberman, 54, a counselor in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect in Brooklyn, was convicted on 59 counts of abuse, including sustained sex abuse of a child and endangering the welfare of a child after a young girl he counseled bravely came forward with her horrific tale of rape and molestation. It was a huge day for the victim, but also for all religious women.

Coming forward in a rape case or a sexual abuse case is terrifying for any victim. But when you're part of a religious group that expects a certain kind of behavior from women and doesn't trust outside authorities, it's something else entirely.

This girl who just turned 18 is a hero. She spoke for all the girls past who were too afraid to speak up, but confided in her about their own abuse at the hands of Weberman. She endured a lot, too.

She said her family was harassed for coming forward; her father lost his business and her nieces were kicked out of school. Someone even shot cellphone photos of her during the trial and posted them online.

It's always hard to be honest and brave in a rape trial. As we all know, lawyers will stop at nothing to disqualify victims. They imply they are sluts; they question their moves and clothing and sexual behavior up until the point of the rape. Because, apparently, only innocent flowers who don't enjoy sex are ever TRULY unwilling.

Of course, if you add the religious aspects here, it's especially brave that this young woman was able to push forward.

As a woman, it's easy to understand why a woman would rather just endure the private pain of being raped than actually tell anyone and get attention for that. Victims often feel shame, and when they are questioned in that way, it only makes it worse. We so desperately need to get past this idea in our culture that a rape victim should feel shame.

Rape isn't sex. It's a kind of violence specifically perpetrated against women and sometimes men. It's intimidation and torture, cruelty and domination. It isn't sex.

This brave girl shows what can happen when a person doesn't back down and let those who would intimidate and hurt win. Justice is served in this case and Weberman will not abuse more little girls.

Her courage truly made a difference in the world. Now I hope she can go on to have a good life, the one she deserves.

Can you understand why victims don't come forward?


Image via Violette79/Flickr

Filed Under: crime

Comments

5
  • bills...
    --

    billsfan1104

    December 11, 2012 at 10:28 AM
    I understand why women wouldn't come toward, but the blame lies with the people who lied about rape. So unfortunately they have to go through those questions. But to me, I think it is selfish to not report a rape. Because there is someone out there raping other women. But, again I do understand.
  • Alyss...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Alyssa MacVeigh

    December 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    No, the blame lies with a patriarchal society that blames the victim and teaches women how to try to avoid rape rather than teaching that rape is wrong. Very few people lie about rape to the point where it should be a non-issue and yet there is always someone uneducated enough to bring it up. And selfish? It's selfish to, after being violated and traumatized in the most intimate, want to try to avoid more pain? To not want to endure more pain that comes in the form of people thinking you're lying, saying what you should have done, questioning whether you secretly liked it or wanted it. And for what? So few cases end in punishment for the rapist?
    You do not understand. You have no notion of what you're talking about and spewing such nonsense makes it worse for rape victims.


  • LuvMy...
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    LuvMyDandD

    December 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    When you are victimized brutally, I doubt "Am I being selfish?" is the first thought that comes to mind. I was raped by a stranger at age 14, reported it, the police never caught him but treated me like a suspect, further traumatizing me (remember, only 14). When I was date raped at age 18, I never went to the police because I knew that they would blame me during the investigation and trial for having 2 beers before legal drinking age. So I took the "selfish" route that time and decided to heal on my own rather than be re-victimized by some fat balding defense attorney. There are reasons that people who haven't been through it cannot ever understand. In that most horrible moment of your lilfe, it's ok to put yourself first, IMO.


  • jessi...
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    jessicasmom1

    December 11, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    no  don't other than they must be scared out of their wits Thankfully this one came forward


  • dirti...
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    dirtiekittie

    December 11, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    until you're a victim, i don't think you can ever put yourself in that mindset (and why would you want to?). it's a horrible circumstance, but as @luvmyDandD said, i agree that as a victim it's ok to think of yourself in that moment. i would never, ever call a rape victim selfish for not reporting it - remember, 'walk a mile in their shoes'. as a victim who never reported it, i can assure you that it was not selfish intent for me to not identify my attacker. and while it's certainly brave and courageous for victims to come forward (i absolutely applaud this girl, it sounds like she went through hell) the fault still lies with the rapist and a society who makes it ok for this to happen 'because she asked for it / dressed a certain way / got drunk' etc. blaming the victim for the attack? or blaming the victim for letting the aggressor 'get away'? personally i think it's a gross mentality that needs to stop. 


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