I’ve never been a fan of people who co-opt tragedies and hot-button issues to make appoint about an unrelated subject. When I started this blog, I resolved to raise the caliber of my writing above what I’d been contributing to other blogs. My posts on other blogs, for the most part, were vindictive, cynical, completely counterproductive, and I vowed I would change. I vowed I would only post things on my blog that I would always be proud of. I believe I’ve thus far managed to be fair and mature on my blog and not simply written because I had what to write, but because I cared and I believed that my post could affect change, but a few days ago I broke that vow and posted an article I am not and should never have been proud of.
I’m referring to this one, in which I compared the conflict between Israel and Gaza with the fight against sexual abuse.
What I find most interesting, is that many of the people, specifically the more right wing communities, which are typically the most pro-Israel and its right to defend itself, no matter the cost in collateral damage, are the same people who condemn victims and their relatives for coming forward to the authorities as mosrim (informants) because of the slightest chance that the accusations may be false, and because of the devastating effect the indictment, trial, and incarceration of an abuser with a wife and children may cause to his family. Never mind the fact that the likelihood of an allegation being false is miniscule, and the number of reported rapes is only 40%. Never mind the fact that of the 40% reported, only 10% are arrested, and only 3% will actually sit in a prison. So careful are these people with the lives and reputations of alleged abusers and the potential damage to their families, that they would force the victim into silence, further revictimizing him and endangering the community. And yet they have no problem with the amount of collateral damage Israel inflicts while fighting Hamas in Gaza. I’m not taking a position on Israel’s acceptable threshold for collateral damage, but the hypocrisy is clear.
I am no longer proud of having written that, and I’m ashamed that I ever was proud of it. I’ve done an injustice to the issue of sexual abuse by co-opting an emotionally charged issue to make a point which I knew would be inflammatory, just for the sake of being inflammatory. I knew that’s why I was doing it, and I did it anyway, and I now wish I hadn’t. This being the Internet, however, I’m aware that there are no takebacks. I am going to leave the article on my blog with an apology in the author’s note, and take any resulting criticism. It is well deserved.
A few months ago, I wrote a post about Martin Luther King Jr, his ideals, and how they inspire me, and I committed to a higher standard of blogging:
This is my dream. That one day I will be able to live in my community, secure in the knowledge that abusers will be brought to justice, survivors will receive the help and support they need and deserve, bust most importantly, that all that hatred I feel toward fellow Jews will be gone, and that I will feel as comfortable around them as I do around fellow activists. My dream allows for the existence of Agudah, Satmar, Lakewood, and Skver. In my dream they all acknowledge the faults within their communities, rectify those faults, and ensure the safety and support of all survivors. In my dream the “angry blogger” has no place, not because he serves no purpose, but because his necessity becomes obviated by mutual understanding, proper education, and a commitment to safety and justice.
In the meantime I will commit to do what I can, to overcome the hatred I feel, and help foster the love and acceptance I want to exist. It will not be easy, but I will make an effort.
I have broken that commitment, but I am going to recommit, and I hope my readers continue to hold me to it. I started my blog with an ideal of calling my community out when I believed it necessary, but doing it constructively, in a way that encourages them to change instead of discouraging it by pushing them away to the point where their change wouldn’t matter to me. There are bloggers who don’t care, and just want to see the Charedi world burn. I’m not one of them, and I hope never to be one of them.