Friday, October 26, 2007

Statistics on Jewish Sexual Abuse

The Jewish Week has an interesting article on sexual abuse within the Jewish community and how the numbers compare to the world at large; it also calculates the differences between the Modern Orthodox and "fervently Orthodox" communities.
Despite the widespread impression in the Orthodox world that sexual abuse doesn’t happen within its precincts, or happens less than in the “outside world,” a report in the November issue of the journal of the American Psychiatric Association says that Orthodox Jewish women suffer as much of it as other American women do.

Twenty-six percent of respondents in a study about the sexual lives and attitudes of married Orthodox Jewish women — 55 percent identifying as Modern Orthodox and about 45 percent as fervently Orthodox — indicated that they had at some point suffered sexual abuse.

That figure is on par with the 25 percent to 27 percent of American women in general, without regard to their marital status or religion, who have reported
in numerous studies that they had been sexually abused.

The new article also says that fervently Orthodox women are more likely than Modern Orthodox women to have experienced sexual abuse, to have experienced it multiple times and to have experienced it the first time before age 13.
It's an interesting piece. I'd like to know more about the questions, methodology, and statistics, but obviously abuse is as large of a problem in the Orthodox world as anywhere else.

Elsewhere, R' Horowitz compares the actions of kannoim to bullies.


  1. "More women who became religious — ba’alei teshuvas — also report having been sexually abused at some point compared to those raised in Orthodox homes, according to the study of married observant women."

    This sentence negates the thesis of the whole article. Is it really the case that in surveying "Orthodox women" they lumped together FFBs and BTs? If so, that is an obvious statistical flaw in the whole thing. BTs were in their earlier life not part of the Orthodox community and then became a part of it later in life, typically in teen or college years. Any abuse suffered in their earlier years is not "in" the Orthodox community.

  2. There seems to be no indication that this was a representative sample...I could see why those who HAD been abused would be more likely to respond to and fill out such a volunteer survey...

    NOW, that does not mean sexual abuse is NOT a problem in the O community. I am just worried that this study is flawed and can NOT be relied upon to give an accurate picture.

  3. It probably is flawed. The method of surveying was inherently biased, like dag said. But the exact numbers aren't really the important thing-the idea is. And it's definitely a problem.

  4. A Sordid Lawsuit Shakes the Satmar Chasidic world .

    Brooklyn N.Y. Lezer ( Louis ) Kestenbaum chairman of the ODA in Williamsburg Brooklyn NY resigned from the ODA soon after settling a lawsuit filed in May in U.S. District Court for the District of Florida for an undisclosed sum alleging he had a sexual relationship with a minor, Joel Kestnbaum the son of Louis kestenbaum will become chairman of the ODA.