Monday, February 21, 2022

Why I Chickened Out

A few months ago, in a post titled What Can Be Done? I wrote about a certain Terrible Situation which has been going on for many years at a certain institution - a form of severe emotional abuse and long-term life harm. In a follow-up post, titled, What I'm Going To Do, I wrote that I was leaning towards writing a series of posts about the situation to raise awareness. But, aside from a single vague post about the definition of a cult, I never did. 

In light of the fact that I've since written several posts about the problem of abuse, a number of people have challenged me, very reasonably, as to why I am not exposing the case that I know about. And so I would like to explain why.

Basically, I did a cost-benefit analysis. I looked at the likelihood of my posts actually preventing anyone from being harmed, and it appeared slim. The people who attend this institution or who send their children to it are unlikely to find out about my posts, or to be swayed by them even if they were to read them.

Meanwhile, I am not as invulnerable to people who want to harm me as I thought I was. I run an institution, and it's not too difficult to make headaches for it. Even though my museum is not remotely controversial or problematic in any way, and I'm just one of over a dozen people on staff, there might be people who are sufficiently crazed and crazy that they would seek to harm me by harming the museum. And even the personal campaigns against me, while they don't bother me at all, are upsetting for certain members of my family.

And so that's why I decided not to write anything about it. You can call it "chickening out" if you want. I am rationalizing it to myself by arguing that I've taken up many causes, often suffering a result, and I don't need to take up every one. 

But if you feel that such causes should be taken up, there are those who do so, and who would be able to be even more successful if they had funding. I am speaking about Magen, a woefully underfunded but critically important organization at the forefront of tackling abuse in the Orthodox community. They just launched a fundraising campaign, and I urge people to support it at this link.

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  1. I know a whisteblower in the UK whose career has been destroyed by revealing abuse. Unfortunately, the benefits are often not worth the cost.

    1. Unfortunately, the benefits are often not worth the cost.
      This is a remarkably complex question and each situation needs to be evaluated separately. I think the real challenge is that the costs are likely born by others than the individuals that benefit. In particular I think of at least one interviewee who said he knew about Chaim Walder years earlier didn't feel he could blow the whistle. How many suffered for this decision? I imagine that anyone in this situation would pray a lot for guidance and seek wise counsel.

    2. Whistleblowers often get their lives destroyed. I have seen it happen numerous times in the US.

    3. Well, Julian Assange is sitting in maximum-security prison for no crime at all.

  2. The problem is, everyone else is also either consciously or subconsciously doing their own cost-benefit analysis and coming to the same conclusion as yours. This leads to the unfortunate reality that this world (not just chareidi) is a paradise for abusers

  3. Wrong decision. Is Magen taking up the cause?

  4. Which is why a lot of people involved with Magen are either former victims or family and/or friends of victims.

  5. I don't know the situation, so I cannot offer an opinion.

    Can you do the same? Can you honestly tell yourself that you don't know other people's situations, so you cannot judge them? Or is the need to keep content on the blog more important?

  6. Couldn't it be reported to an investigative journalist who would be willing to run the story just like happened with CW?

  7. One must pick ones fights.

    I have been doing so myself. And there are some fights I can't get involved in because innocents could be hurt.

  8. Bingo! Cost-benefit analysis is the name of the game.
    Why some people prefer to silence matters like the CW affair? Because of their cost-benefit analysis. (I don't wonder why their cost-benefit analysis looks like a nonsense for someone else: any cost-benefit analysis of anyone may be nonsense for someone other. BTW I consider it nonsense as well, but who cares?)

  9. Putting together your posts here and your comments elsewhere, you seem to have just accused (redacted) of committing sexual abuse. Unless I am misunderstanding the link between this topic and your appeal for Magen in this post.


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