No, you didn’t deserve it.

Abuse always happens in a culture. The Jewish religious culture still by and large shushes up rabbinic abuse until they absolutely have to deal with it. That is why the stories coming out are so horrifying.

Why is it that the men who constitute the upper echelons of the frum (religious) community operate with total and complete impunity?

The answer has to do with a very degrading attitude toward women that isn’t coming from the Torah at all. Here’s a pretty good example from a fringe rabbi who arguably says out loud what is often kept quiet: Virtuous women are safe and “slutty” ones “deserve what they get.”

The categorization of women (and men and boys) into elite versus everybody else is the problem.

By definition, in ultra-Orthodox Judaism—which is by definition extremist and unlivable, misaligned with our faith—men are all-important and women are merely tempting vessels to be used for auxiliary purposes.

The Torah tells us in Genesis that women are very powerful beings and actually choose how to deploy our power based on how men act.

“Ezer Kenegdo” (Genesis 2:18) = “A helper OPPOSING him” (if he is bad)

“Aishes Chayil” (Proverbs 31:10) = A good woman = “A female SOLDIER”

The curse of Eve (3:16) — painful childbirthing, desire for her husband to the point of losing herself, as demonstrated by the spouse “ruling over” her.

Men were cursed too (“by the sweat of your brow shall you earn bread”) and technology helps overcome the curse.

So too we are bound to help women.

The community should be promoting strength, and not enabling male rabbinic abuse or any other abuse.

By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal (Dossy). All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain.