What I'm Going To Do
In the previous post, I asked for advice on what to do regarding a certain Terrible Situation; not sexual abuse, but a different situation that results in many damaged victims. I would like to thank everyone for their suggestions, and I am contact with several people as a result.
A number of people asked if I, or someone else, could speak to the perpetrator, and convince him to stop what he is doing. Alas, this is completely impossible. It would be like suggesting that someone should convince Donald Trump that he's a narcissist, or that he lost the election. His personality makes this utterly impossible.
Others asked if there was some person or some sort of body that could stop him. Alas, there isn't (and that's part of the problem). His enablers answer to him, and he answers to nobody.
Accordingly, others pointed out that unfortunately the only thing to do is to help the victims, and to try to prevent there being even more victims.
It was also stated to me that the fact that the perpetrator didn't harm me personally, and even helped me in some ways, is no reason for me not to prevent other people being harmed. For the record, I have always intellectually acknowledged that; all I meant is that it is emotionally difficult for me to do so.
How does one prevent other people from being harmed? The only way of doing this is to create awareness of the danger. And it seems that the only way of doing that is to publicize the danger online. Ideally, this would be done by the victims, but since none of them are currently interested in doing so, it falls upon me. And so that's what I'm leaning towards doing (though I'm still open to being convinced otherwise!). Perhaps if I get the ball rolling, others will be stimulated to speak up and take action.
What about danger of the perpetrator and his enablers trying to get back at me? I've been giving it thought and I don't think that there's anything that they can actually do. They're not the type to try to physically harm me or my family. Intimidation and harassment? Been there, done that; it's so 2005. I've had plenty of harassment, some of which necessitated having to go the police, and while it's upsetting, I'm ready to have to go through it again. Besides, if there's one thing that these people are not, it's stupid. They know how to strategically further their cause, and how to avoid harming it, and the last thing that they want to do is anything that will inflame public interest. They are going to want to keep as low profile as possible and wait for me to move on to the next topic.
However, I will not be naming any people or institutions (and I will delete any comments that do so). This is for several reasons. One of them is that this leaves me with some cards up my sleeve. Since I'm not naming anyone, if the guilty party does do anything, it will immediately identify them as being the party that I am referring to. And keeping this in reserve provides an additional incentive for the perpetrator and his enablers to avoid doing anything that will provoke me against them.
But there's also another reason. At first glance, it would seem that failing to name and shame the perpetrator misses the whole point. How are people supposed to avoid being harmed if they don't even know who to avoid? Yet in fact, it turns out that just the opposite is the case. After my post on Friday, a number of people contacted me privately to say that they guessed who I was referring to. While some of them were correct, others were not. From those who guessed incorrectly, I learned that the Terrible Situation which I described is not unique. There are other similar Terrible Situations, albeit perhaps less intense.
And so, if warning of the problem without giving identifying details causes people to be more concerned and suspicious in general, that's a good thing. Halevay that it should stimulate the creation of an organization to be on the lookout and create a warning mechanism for such dangerous situations.
Meanwhile, it would be a good idea if someone with technological know-how would volunteer their services to create a website in which victims of this and other problems could anonymously report their situations. True, it creates the risk of false allegations. However, it seems to me that the number of real crimes that go unreported vastly exceeds the number of people who are likely to be falsely accused. And if the website is run and monitored by a responsible person, it should be fairly easy to only promote stories in which the complaints are credible, such as if they are numerous. As Rabbi Alfred Cohen writes, in “Judging Transgression in the Absence of Witnesses" (Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society LX): "When the community is in danger, the rights of the individual to be considered innocent until proven guilty have to defer to the overarching necessity of safeguarding the community.”
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