The long-term effects of sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community
Sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community may have lasting psychological, physical and social effects for victims.
It is difficult to imagine sexual abuse occurring in religious communities like the Orthodox Jewish community. However, more and more people are coming forward and alleging they were sexually abused at hands of rabbis, Torah teachers, family friends, respected elders and others. While the extent of the problem in the Orthodox Jewish community is unknown, the Washington Post reports 132 people made abuse allegations in 2011 alone.
The effects of sexual abuse may be extensive and long lasting. Unwanted sexual activity made by force, threatening or otherwise taking advantage may have psychological, physical and social consequences, which may last well after the abuse occurs. The impact of molestation may be made worse among Orthodox Jews, including the large enclaves in Miami, Baltimore, Los Angeles and New York, because it often goes unreported or unaddressed. This may occur because people do not like to talk about such things, the victims may not be able to express what is happening to them, those involved may be too afraid to report the abuse or because Jewish tenets prohibit people from reporting other Jews to secular law enforcement officials.
Regardless of the age when the molestation occurred, those who suffer sexual abuse may experience immediate psychological impacts, as well as long-term emotional effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sexual violence may result in psychological issues including the following:
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Distrust of other people
While the immediate emotional consequences may fade with time, people who are sexually abused often experience chronic psychological issues such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety. In some cases, those who experience sexual violence may also become suicidal and suffer from low self-esteem or self-blame.
Long after they have healed from the immediate injuries, people may continue to suffer from a range of physical effects as a result of sexual abuse. In addition to genital injuries, people may suffer other gynecological complications, sexually transmitted infections or cervical cancer. Victims of sexual violence often also experience chronic pain, migraines and other frequent headaches, and gastrointestinal disorders. Unplanned pregnancies may also result from abuse involving unprotected intercourse.
As they recover from being sexually abused, it may seem that people should want to turn to their family, friends and others who care about them. However, that is not always the case, and sexual violence may strain their relationships with their families and friends. People who experience molestation often isolate or ostracize themselves from their families and the community. They may reach out less often and avoid contact with their loved ones, and turn to other people or fixes for emotional support.
Due to the trauma of sexual abuse, those who have been molested often experience a diminished interest in sex. In some cases, they may even avoid sexual activities altogether. This may put tension on their relationships with intimate partners or make it difficult to connect with people on that level. In fact, people who have suffered sexual violence may be less likely to marry, according to the CDC.
Seeking legal counsel
The impact of sexual abuse is often long-lasting. Consequently, those who experience molestation may require immediate medical care as well as ongoing treatment. This may lead to undue medical expenses and other losses for which the alleged abuser may be held liable. Therefore, those who have been sexually abused may benefit from consulting with an attorney. A lawyer like those at the firm of Andreozzi + Foote, can explain their rights and help them better understand possible legal options.
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One of the best personal injury lawyers in the country. Great experience. Really genuine people at Andreozzi and Associates.
Handled our case SO well even though it took a long time to settle, and STILL helps us with paperwork related to the settlement account every now and then. They were honest with us from the get-go, worked REALLY hard on our behalf, and always kept in touch with us about what was going on. So pleased.
When you and your child are victims of a horrid crime it’s hard to understand why things are the way they are. Information and answers are what you want, but unfortunately the system doesn’t offer that. Nathaniel has fielded and patiently listened to a broken mother wanting nothing more than for someone to help her understand why she has no answers, and through these phone calls Nathaniel has been very informative, honest and upfront. I would recommend Nathaniel and this firm to anyone who is seeking answers, help and professionalism in a firm when going through such difficult times.
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It is impossible to put into words our gratitude for Ben and Nate through the most trying time of our life. As scared, confused, and traumatized parents, the isolation and loneliness of litigation are abysmal. In the beginning, everyone surrounding you has endless bright ideas and can’t say enough how you should pursue action, but then when it comes down to it, these cheerleaders are suddenly silent and nowhere to be found in what feels to be your darkest hour. Thank God we had these two extraordinary men at our side from the moment we contacted them. Their friendship, counsel, and sound resolve to do everything they could in order to balance the scorecard meant more than we can ever convey, and is simply immeasurable. If we had known how simple this seemingly horrific ordeal would’ve been with their help from the start, we wouldn’t have agonized a single minute over doing what we did. If you are in a similar position as I’ve described, take advice from someone who’s been through the worst, thankfully with the best. Call them!