“Sex Abuse Is a Plague in the Ultra Orthodox Community” According to Author Judy Brown

Frum Follies
August 2, 2015

Judy Brown (aka Eishes Chayil) had this to say about sex abuse when interviewed by Sara Scribner about her new book, This Is Not a Love Story: A Memoir.

Sexual abuse was a plague in the [ultra orthodox Jewish] community… because they denied its existence, allowing pedophiles full freedom to sexually molest children.

Before I ever wrote a word of “Hush,” I had written for years in the ultra-Orthodox world. My writings were taught in their schools. Being a writer brought me readers, and they would tell me their stories. And more and more of them were about sexual abuse…

You begin to hear a pattern. Something happened… but you can’t think about it in a world where it is denied. You deny it to yourself… You just think about it as an isolated event. You think this isn’t the community. It’s just me or her or him…

This isn’t some theoretical concept. It’s young adults committing suicide one after another. It’s people who go through hellish agony trying to untangle themselves and deal with the trauma. It’s knowing that as long as you are silent there’s another person you are literally killing. For me that book [Hush] was survival. So the ugliness that it unleashed was a nightmare to deal with. It’s something that still hurts me to think about. I guess it always will.

I never thought of it in terms of an artist. It was just something that was in existence in the most brutal way and the only thing I feared more than publishing it was not publishing it.


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