The Amazing Leah Forster

Trigger warning: Upsetting material ahead.

So. Yesterday I listened to
Leah Forster’s interview with Mislaibeled and it really, really, really, really upset me.

I wanted to write about it right away but the emotions were so strong that I kind of started choking each time I even thought about it.

The first part (odd to mention “choking”) is that Leah is a comedienne and she uses a bad “joke” to tell the listeners about how she was sexually assaulted as a child. She caught me off guard. I felt the raw pain of that moment, like an empathy with that little child that she was, go through my entire body and I envision her tiny self being brutalized by someone she knew. Someone “frum” “chasidish” “religious.”

I have tears falling down my face right now, not only for her but for all the other victims of these complete animals.

The girl who “had to leave school” in sixth grade because a stranger abducted and molested her (only God knows what happened exactly) in the park.

The young woman who was at home just before college and a guy knocked on the door and said “utility repair, have to check the water” and then she opened the door and he forced his way in and raped her.

The young woman who went on a shidduch date and the guy said “I’m not taking you home unless you —.”

The woman who went on a job interview and the interviewer drove her home and forced his way in and almost raped her.

The woman who hosted a dinner party and one of the guests, an acquaintance, raped her.

Leah reports being sexually assaulted at a comedy show by a guy giving her directions to the place where she had to perform. The male hosts of the show are outraged. But she is so used to being attacked, not necessarily sexually, that she shushes them away.

These men who said — you should never be attacked, Leah — they are normal. Where are the rabbis for Leah? Why are they so busy trying to shut her down.

Oh, I see. She is a “lesbian.” Her “lesbian” whatever might be catching.

Let me tell you something. Her ex was okay with her alternative lifestyle. As long as it was a secret life, and she acted like a traditional subordinate “heimish” wife and mother, she was cool.

The real problem these rabbis have is not her sexuality (which she doesn’t even define as lesbian but rather something more like dealing with people, not biological labels. Note also that lesbianism is not a sin.)

No—the problem is that Leah Forster represents an existential threat to their male-dominated system.

A system where a man can (redacted original post: I don’t want to say it plainly; a terrible assault) a child, and she is the one who’s the problem.

Leah is a very strong person, and amazingly given her treatment by the community and her family, she is coming closer to religion.

She is not defined by what was done to her by a sicko. She has defined herself as a liberator of women by satirizing the silly roles they’ve been forced into.

Roles that they learn to police so that they in effect become the oppressors of other women. All in the name of “spirituality.”

I love being Jewish and I love God, but the so called ultra religious community has a tremendous amount of change and repentance to do around male domination.

By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own.