RALLY FOR THE CHILD VICTIMS ACT
LostMessiah, May 3, 2016
Over the last few days, LM along with a host of websites, Facebook sites and other journalistic sources have been accused of directing our collective attention to the sexual abuse within the ultra-Orthodox communities to the exclusion of drawing attention to sexual abuse within other communities. We believe this levying of such accusations is ignoring the plight of children.
What makes the situation within the ultra-Orthodox community so disturbing is the public position taken by organizations like Agudath Israel which are trying to block the legislation from being enacted. We find it troubling that anyone would want to block its passage. We feel that by advocating for blocking the passage of legislation, which would give ALL children the opportunity to prosecute crimes when they are old enough to defend themselves against counter-balancing accusations, is unequivocally anti-child. It in our view represents empirical proof that the community covered under the Agudath Israel umbrella simply has no interest in protecting Jewish children.
The Catholic Church, which was also plagued with incidents of sexual abuse by trusted individuals and the sports community is supporting this bill.
If our criticism of organizations like Agudath Israel raises questions of anti-Semitism than perhaps a clear understanding that this law is intended to protect all children demands that naysayers reconsider chalking this up to hatred for Jews. There is no denial that we detest Rabbis who abuse those entrusted in their care and anyone who covers up the abuse. Similarly we detest the same actions in any community, whether religious, sports or others. We are anti-abuse.
Labeling calling out a community in which sexual abuse is currently an epidemic as anti-Semitic is simply another way to shut our eyes and ignore problems. It is another way of saying that we don’t care enough about our children to protect them. Raping a child is not only a physical abuse but a rape of that child’s future. The Child Victims Act cannot remove the devastation of the rape but it can ensure that it does not happen twice.
Call us anti-Semitic. We will return the disparaging comment by calling anyone who does not advocate for this law complicit in the sexual abuse of children and in perpetuating it further, not just Jewish children but ALL CHILDREN.
Abuse survivors and advocates will fight for justice in 2-day Albany rally
Dedicated advocates who want to see children protected from predators and many others are offended by the persistent cover-up child sex abuse crimes in schools, religious, sports and youth organizations are rallying in Albany for two days this week.
They are calling upon legislators to ask them to reform our statute of limitations laws that prevents most victims of these crimes from ever getting justice. These same too-short statute of limitations also encourages too many organizations and institutions to hide perpetrators and permits them to continue to molest new generations of children.
They want the Child Victims Act to become law to completely eliminate the statute of limitations for child sex abuse crimes. New York is among the very worst states in America for how it treats victims of childhood sexual abuse. The advocates and survivors of abuse who are coming to Albany this week want to change that deplorable situation.
During two days of public programs, we will hear from adults who are survivors of abuse. They will tell their stories of how they were molested as children and the consequences for their lives in a world that permits pedophiles to get away with their crimes. Survivors range from a world champion ice-skater, a teenage hockey player, a budding hip-hop artist, private and parochial school students and some abused by family members and neighbors. What they have in common is that their pleas for help were ignored, and their abusers have been protected by the existing statute of limitations.
We are also devoting a whole day to the message of the Academy Award-winning movie “Spotlight,” which tells about the Boston priest scandal where church hierarchy covered up for a notorious pedophile to continued his evil deeds.
The message for New York State legislators from all of these survivors is that denying victims of child sex abuse crimes to have their day in court is wrong. The present law protects pedophiles. Their victims, the survivors, deserve their day in court and organizations and institutions that cover up abuse deserve to be held accountable. This outcome is good for victims, good for their friends and families, and good for society.
Markey (D-Queens) is a New York State Assembly member