Forced Affection

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Meyer Seewald
written by Shana Aaronson out in our Israel office.
15 months ago it began.
He threatened her life if she told anyone, but she did.
They told her not to report, but she did.
She sat in front of him in a confrontation with the police where he insulted and mocked her, but she kept going.
They got a gadol to declare her a moser, and a rodef, but she kept going.
Those that had supported her, that she trusted, turned and twisted her own words and kindness against her, but she kept going.
They ostracized her, they abandoned her, they yelled at her that she was wrong and cruel, they guilted her, but she kept going.
His lawyer lied about her, the courts almost skipped her chance to to speak her wishes, but she kept going.
She had every reason to stop, to not even get up in the morning, but she did.
Today he was sentenced to ten years in prison. For ten years, the world will be a little bit safer.
You will always have so many reasons not to tell the truth. There will be countless obstacles that will look impossible. But she kept going, and she did it, and so can you.


Below are some powerful truths,

Take the time to read and share,

Let’s spread the truth and shine the light,

Coach Yulia


It is not enough to say that sexual assault is terrible. It is not enough to know that it is worse than other crimes. We need to be able to say why.
The single greatest statement my tradition made to the world is that a human being is in the image of God. It is not a physical statement; that image does not reside in a hand or even a heart. But the deeper you go into someone, the better you know them, the closer you get to that image. To draw another close, to touch them deeply, is to encounter a soul.
Sexuality is part of the essential dignity of the human being. It is the embodiment of the closest relationship of which we are capable. The Bible describes sexual intercourse as “knowing” someone. Your core identity is bound up with your sexuality. When you rob someone’s house you take their possessions. When you assert control over their sexuality you scar their soul. You express your sense of their worthlessness. If a stranger passes you on the street and says ‘you are worthless’ it is a passing insult. When someone says it by sexually abusing you, it is an enduring wound.
What Harvey Weinstein did was not a crime like embezzlement or even physical assault. If we do not explain the depth of the violation, and the necessity of speaking out, we continue to approve. We are tacitly endorsing a world in which one person may diminish or destroy the dignity of another by asserting control over their deepest intimacy. When someone abuses your body, you can never escape the scene of the crime. You will always carry the place where it happened, because you are the victim and the crime scene all at once.
When human beings think of themselves as all-powerful they believe their desires have moral power. “I want” becomes “I can.” When you believe you are a god you become a beast.
Human beings are the only animals that make love face to face. Even our closest evolutionary relatives do not do that. There is an intimacy we instinctively understand — that we are “knowing” someone on a level that nothing else can touch.
I have sat in my office and listened to women devastated, deeply devastated, by the casual cruelty of men who treated them as soulless objects. Men who have trampled what is sacred. Men who believe that what they want is sovereign and women are vehicles of satisfaction.
We need to change a culture of complicity to a culture of courage. It is important to talk about it because bad ideas are more dangerous than bad individuals. Bad individuals can be stopped but bad ideas can be spread. The Talmud says that “those who are kind to the cruel will end up being cruel to the kind.” If you do not speak out, it will happen again and again.
As men we have to listen. We have to understand that the cruel do not deserve our kindness. Desire is not a moral category: dignity, respect, honor — these are moral categories. “I want” is not a moral category. You are not entitled to act on desire if it conflicts with decency. Our discussion must be mandated not by prurience but by principle.
There are endless ways people can be cruel to one another. Some are deeper, some are worse. Souls deserve better.

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