How Rabbis Discourage Reports of Sexual Assaults

FRUM FOLLIES by Yerachmiel Lopin

Rabbi Dovid Tzvi Ordentlich R. Dovid Tzvi Ordentlich

Yehuda Shohat and Ariela Sternbuch reported in Yediot Aharonot a year ago about the advice that Israeli rabbis give about whether to report sexual assaults to the police. Sternbuch called up 27 individuals describing obviously criminal sexual assaults.

Until now, only the interaction with Rabbi Ratzon Arussi was translated into English along with his rationalizations (See Haanah Katsman, “Rabbi Defends Not Reporting Sex Abuse”).

What is notable for most of these responses is they did not invoke any prohibitions of mesira (snitching).
Instead they engaged in victim blaming, worried about the impact on the offender and his family, warned about impact of reporting in the marriage prospects of the victim, and insisted the police were ineffective. They often assumed the offense was a one-time event and assumed teshuva (repentence). Their practical solutions for preventing repetitions of this offense involved giving the offender a tongue lashing.

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