Girl Accuses Religious Leader of Molestation & Is Called a 'Slut'

Brooklyn bridgeA 17-year-old girl in New York City has accused Spiritual Leader and Orthodox Jewish Counselor Nechemya Weberman of molestation. This would be a tragic, albeit too familiar, story of abuse of power were it not for one detail -- the ultra orthodox Jewish community from which both Weberman and the girl come from is rallying around him.

Yes, you read that right. They are rallying around the accused. 

In unbelievably disgusting news, they have called this 17-year-old girl (who was 12 when the alleged abuse started) a "slut" and a troublemaker. Her family has been threatened and harassed. Even if he is innocent and she is lying, doesn't a little girl at least deserve the respect to have her story heard?

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Obviously, it's possible that any woman is lying when she accuses any man of rape. I suppose the same might be true of a teen girl and maybe even a child. But that possibility is remote when you consider what women go through when they accuse a person -- ANYONE! -- of raping them or molesting them.

Very often the alleged victim is put on trial. She has to prove she was not a whore, not a liar, and innocent enough to be abused.

It's sickening. Regardless of the accusations, we don't get to decide in this country who is innocent and who is guilty. We let the courts decide. We have to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

The orthodox Jewish community in Israel and in Brooklyn, too, is known for being very insular and not taking kindly to accusations (or "immodest" women or girls). But this girl was 12 years old and questioning her faith when she went to see Weberman. She deserves to be heard.

I have no idea what she is like, but I do know that most women and girls wouldn't risk scorn or public ridicule to make a false accusation. If she is lying, she is enduring an awful lot to do so.

I have no idea whether Weberman is guilty or innocent. But no one really does. The only people who know are the girl and Weberman himself.

The idea that anyone would presume to know or treat a girl who is probably already terrified in such a way speaks volumes to me about the community.

Do you think women and girls make stories like these up?

 

Image via rakkhi/Flickr

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