Jan 24, 2013
To My Fellow Survivors
Illustration photo by Nevit Dilmen

From the COLlive inbox: A frum woman who suffered abuse in her childhood tells how she thought her life was ruined forever.

To my fellow survivors,

In light of the recent news on the Weberman case, I have read and heard so many stories of such tragedies.

I would like to share with you my story in hopes that it will bring some positivity out of the horror and bring about some light at the end of each your dark tunnels.

I was you.

My story is pretty much your story, in its own version. I grew up in a frum family and community. I looked and acted like a regular child except I had a terribly painful secret, that no one had any idea about. A relative had abused my body and me throughout my childhood. Then a teacher in my high school has done the same.

I was in and out of high schools and failing my way through life. I was up every night with flashbacks and nightmares. Every thought was brutally interrupted by images of my attackers. My life was a never ending battle of chaos and pain.

As my friends and I graduated high school they were all talking about seminary and traveling when all I could think about was getting through the next day. As the years went on, I danced at the weddings of friends with a pained smile plastered on my face, knowing I would never have this experience of my own. My life as I knew it was ruined and never to be reclaimed.

After seeing about 8 different and ineffective therapists, I decided I would try one last time. I refused to give up on myself if it was at all in my control.

I struggled and fought through 6 agonizing years of therapy. I worked through flashbacks and panic, anxiety and depression. I cried over lost childhood. I grieved over stolen innocence. I worked through trust and abandonment issues but most of all I took back control - control of my life that was so evilly taken. I went back to school and got a great job and am now ready for a healthy trusting relationship.

I now cherish every day of my life. I value and appreciate the amazing supportive people I have come to know. I wake up every day grateful to Hashem for my second chance at life.

If you would have told me 3 years ago that this would be my life now, I would have laughed. But this is my life. I am now emotionally connected, I learned how to communicate and I know who I can trust and who I can't. I learned there are amazing people in this world as well as, unfortunately, evil people.

I'm sharing this with you because I want you to know that this can be your story too. You had no control in the past but you have the control now - take it back! Get the help you need and deserve.

Your life is NOT over. Your life is NOT ruined forever. You still have life ahead of you. You did NOT deserve the abuse but you DO deserve to heal. If we can take away anything from the tragedies that happened we need to first heal ourselves so we can protect our children. Don't give up on yourselves. You deserve better.


Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
Name names. The are likely still hurting others .
(1/24/2013 10:24:34 PM)
Thank you
for sharing your story, your courage and your lesson of hope. We should all be healed from the traumas of our life, and move on in joy, with Hashem's help.
(1/24/2013 10:26:40 PM)
it's scary and sad
to think how reoccurring this theme is
it seems like abuse case and story after story keeps surfacing..
(1/24/2013 10:53:23 PM)
Please... Enough!!!
Stop posting these feel sorry stories!.
We have no sympethy or love for people who seek for extra attention from the public to drag them down into their rotten hole.
Stand up,brighten up and wipe off the dust from previous trauma and no rest.
We all heard Holocaust survivors sharing their stories,trust me they went through Enternal Suffering (to say this politely).
If these survivors were able to build there lives back to normal
how much more so can this women.
(1/24/2013 11:23:58 PM)
@ number 3
There are sooooo many stories, you can't even imagine.. so many people scared to talk.. whats coming up is only a fraction, but coming a long way.
I'd like to commend Collive for putting these stories up, getting rid of the shame, and helping people move forward..
(1/24/2013 11:31:17 PM)
What is abuse?
every person is abused in one way or another by just about everyone, should we all be locked up? should we all be put to death? there is abuse and then there is ABUSE, so many of us who really get ABUSED but we go on with our lives, and then there are those that get abused and for the rest of their life blame everyone else and the abusers for not making it in life.....

Get out there and work, it may be hard but but if there is a will there is a way..... Dont sit back and blame everyone else. make a difference

From a real ABUSED survivor
(1/25/2013 12:11:25 AM)
Yasher Koach to you & COL!
(1/25/2013 12:14:36 AM)
You are an inspiration!

I have a close relative who sounds exactly like the way you described. Too many therapists and not connecting with them.

Would you please let us know who the therapist is? Or at least a way to anonymously contact you and find out?

With many thanks in advance.
(1/25/2013 12:18:17 AM)
Imoi Anoichi Batzoroh
Been there, done that. Only problem is I finally got married to a guy who beat me.... now what????
(1/25/2013 1:07:07 AM)
I understand why u dont want to mention the names of the * ineffective therapists although maybe u should, but if you want ppl to be helped why don't you share the name of the one who helped you?
(1/25/2013 1:29:23 AM)
To #4
You should be ashamed of yourself , you really have no idea what this abuse victims go thru in life, or you may be a abuser yourself, my child was abused and his life was ruined forever , so before you get up and make this comments maybe you should speak to a abuse victim and you will understand.

(1/25/2013 4:20:40 AM)
We are all happy for you
and shame on #4 for being so dismissive. it is one thing to have been touched inappropriately in the subway, and even (more sadly) in shul. it is a whole other thing to have years of abuse by someone who should be protecting you, and looking out for your welfare, who should be running out in front of a car to save you from injury, and who instead USES that position of your vulnerability for their own selfish sick plans. You (#4) have been listening to Manis too much, and he is referring to a one time event, not to years of abuse.

To the article writer: We are happy for you, and pray that Hashem continue to give you the strength to rise to your challenge, conquer your demons, and find your bashert. Our best wishes you you, in your healing.
(1/25/2013 5:47:40 AM)
#4 - get therapy - for the art of empathy
Unsympathetic and superficial style of thinjking. Maybe you should take therapy to connect you to peope around you more!
(1/25/2013 7:41:23 AM)
to those who dismiss
Know that two categories of people exist in the Jewish communities.
The first are the abused and those who suffer along with them.
The second are those who cannot understand what the fuss is all about, not realizing the gravity of the details or their consequences, or not wanting to realize it.
Together with the second group are the abusers, by default.
The second group also enables the abuse, often by ignorance, and sometimes deliberately.
These two groups are worlds apart.
If they could somehow be bridged, with the second truly understanding the first, survivors would heal and abuse would be reduced.
Unfortunately, it often takes until a second group-er's own child or grandchild is destroyed for them to begin to open their eyes.
On the other hand, given the current rate of abuse, that might not be long in coming.
People should do some honest research: What exactly is abuse? And what are its consequences? The first question is most important to research, because it is precisely what is most ignored.
It should also be said clearly that articles such as these refer exclusively to a single, most horrific form of abuse, that COL does not spell out by name, most probably for reasons of modesty. It is understood nevertheless by everyone except the irredeemably naive and the willful detractors.
(1/25/2013 8:06:49 AM)
To 4 & 6
I see others wrote it but it should be said again and again. Shame on you. You have no idea.
(1/25/2013 8:24:33 AM)
From The Author of this post
The point of the letter is to give HOPE and encouragement to survivors of abuse. Not to bring anyone down. It is to shed light on the ability for survivors to heal and have normal lives. Stories dont need to have a sad ending.

To poster #4 - you stated "if these survivors were able to build there lives back to normal how much more so can this women." I'm not sure which article you read because my article was precisely how I built my life back to normal.

Anyone who would like to contact me can email nchana4@gmail.com
(1/25/2013 9:06:46 AM)
moshe der
i would just like to make sure that the writer (and my heart goes out to the writer for all she suffered) is speaking about "physical" abuse

and it seem that she is because she says "abused my body"
as parents we need to speak to our children about this and pray that we get through to them that there is no room for this type of behavior in our lives.

and again we cannot change the past and we can only show sympathy and do whatever we can to all the victims


let us demand from all our institutions schools shuls camps etc .. video cameras in every corner of the property and these should be saved forever. from the roof of the building to the deepest corner of the basement. every inch of the building. so that no one can abuse anyone without it being recorded and this will help prevent abuse in our institutions where a lot of accusations take place ...

and on all buses owned by our schools and camp

and don't tell me that it is expensive.. can you imagine how much money 1 lawsuit will cost

let us help prevent future cases

(1/25/2013 9:12:30 AM)
Clarity for people like 4 and 6
Some people writing comments may be young, and/or naive, and not realize the type of abuse being referred to in these articles. We are not talking about a parent yelling at their child, or a 'mean' teacher. We are not talking about mildly abusive behavior, which every person does encounter at some point in life.
There is abuse that rips apart a child's mental health; that injures him or her for life. It is greater suffering than the worst physical beating, and it is often perpetrated by a close friend of the family, a relative, or a person in authority. That type of victim is not 'whining' or overreacting. They have serious, painful real issues to overcome because of what they endured, and these articles are trying to help remove the taboo about these kinds of abuse, so people can and will seek help.
I am still not entirely sure that COL is the place to air these things though, since i know for a fact that there are children as young as grade 5 or 6 who read this site. (whether THAT is right or wrong is another whole question).
(1/25/2013 9:32:47 AM)
to # 4
seriously you are insane. there are children every day that are getting molested day after day and all you care about is not wanting to have sympathy for these children. you are crazy and especially in crown hights i hear so may stories of girls and biys being molested and its so sad and the saddest thing is some are so naive that they dont know whats going on because their parents dont tell them about this stuff and also they are too scared to say anything about it. they are traumatized for life and as every knows the first step to get rid of a problem is admitting you have a problem and these children do have problems and if u have a problem with that....... just admit it because you do
(1/25/2013 9:34:33 AM)
To numbers 4 and 6
Why are you downplaying someone else's genuine pain? She has moved on with her life.. She has taken responsibility for her life. What is your problem exactly?.
(1/25/2013 9:37:05 AM)
To 4 and 6
Kids of People like u are the ones that molesters go after, because they know the parents r stupid and naive ! Be aware !!
(1/25/2013 10:36:22 AM)
So sad ., so hurt . so much pain.
Thanks COL for posting this article and others like this. It is good for parents and children alike to be aware that this is the reality of what is happening. So the most likely solution to prevent this from happening to your child is simply to arm your child with enough knowledge to know right from wrong regarding the physical behavior of others towards them.

and we as a community also need to comply with clear cut halachos of yichud. children very young can be taught the rules of yichud. if someone breaks the rules of yichud who says that he/she won't break other rules.
(1/25/2013 11:07:57 AM)
To # 4
What world do you live on.
Wake up and smell the coffee.
(1/25/2013 11:57:49 AM)
#4 and #6..
If, BeEzras Hashem, these facts are not part of your reality, nor the reality of people around you ( and, you never really know....), then at least have the good grace to BE QUIET, even if you cannot find it in your heart to believe..and to feel someone's pain. To the writer..May Hashem continue to give you strength and true Simcha and peace.
(1/25/2013 12:47:31 PM)
Project Extreme helps!
Project Extreme has helped numerous abuse victims from Lubavitch families. Rabbi AY Weinberg is an Ohev Yisroel, he is a leading expert on at risk teens and is saving lives every single day.

From their website:

Project Extreme was founded in 2001 to help teens-at-risk reconnect with themselves, their families and their communities. Thousands of teens have been helped by Project Extreme’s broad portfolio of both short and long term programs designed to assist teens in need and their families to overcome their many challenges by providing them with life skills training, social support networks and professional counseling in a positive, healthy environment that is fun, exciting, secure and highly productive.

Our specialized programs include:

Helpline: From confused parents to troubled teenagers, the professionals manning the Helpline offer callers practical advice, valuable resources and everlasting hope. The information is priceless - and the cost is only one phone call. Phone: 516-612-3922 Email info@projectextreme.org

Camp Extreme for Boys/Camp Extreme for Girls: Provides a constructive outdoor, adventure summer experience that gives struggling teens new skills and the ability to focus more positively on their lives

Holiday Retreats: Diffuses the family stress often associated with the holidays, and places the teens in a warm and nurturing environment.

Life Mentor Program: By pairing teens with experienced mentors, Project Extreme ensures that the progress made durring one of our programs will not fade or diminish.

Nights on the Town: Safe and fun-filled experience for teens within their own communities while stressing appropriate decision-making skills.

Weekend Retreats: Integrates new teens to our programs; allows follow-up with those who have already participated in our programs; provides an opportunity to address behavioral deterioration on a monthly basis.
(1/25/2013 1:32:43 PM)
To 4
I hate it when people use the Holocaust as you did! My grandfather lived the Holocaust. Yes, he survived, and wanted that noone would EVER suffer ANY abuse. I am sure he would DETEST your "comment".
(1/25/2013 3:16:00 PM)
#4 u r the problem
I'm not sure if this was your idea of a little tease for attention or if u truly are a sociopath in the making since they have no feelings for others' pain.In either case, try and get some help for your sake.Abuse is very real and esp.the one the author speaks of and it robs children of their childhood. Holocause survivors are like a cracked vase.You can glue it together and make it functional but it is still full of fragile cracks.
(1/25/2013 3:17:03 PM)
to #4
I have to believe only someone who identifies with the abuser would say something so ignorant and cruel. Yasher koach to the writer of this article. May more people come forward and help everybody understand how widespread this problem is.
(1/25/2013 4:11:50 PM)
To #4
You have no idea what you are talking about. You clearly do not understand what abuse of that nature is. You show ignorance, therefore I can not even write words to insult you. I suggest that you educate yourself about the horrible ramifications of childhood abuse. I hope you never experience or know a child who experiences physical and worse abuse, but if you did you would not be as heartless and uncompassionate. What kind of Jew are you, if you are one.
(1/25/2013 7:35:06 PM)
To #4
Holocaust survivors have been abused /tormented by Nazis!!
These forms abuse have been perpetrated by Jewish people- whom our children were taught to TRUST & RESPECT!!!!!
(1/26/2013 8:11:10 AM)
to #4&6
i think it's time you took your words back
(1/26/2013 8:48:10 AM)
no 4 shame shame shame on you!
maybe you need to go through an abuse and than you'll tell us exactly how it feels. you peace of horror!
(1/26/2013 12:08:58 PM)
contact info
Is it possible for you (or the collive) to post a email address of this author so other (in similar) positions can contact her.

(1/26/2013 6:48:45 PM)
You should thank Hashem that you were able to come out of your personal Mitzraim which is the effects from the abuse that you suffered. Your story highlights the needs for parents and schools to know the signs of abuse and that it is also important to know what to do when the abuse is found out. Schools probably would not know what to do with a child if they found out if a child is being abused.
(1/26/2013 7:00:52 PM)
Email address from author of this post
If you would like to contact me please feel free to email nchana4@gmail.com
(1/26/2013 9:31:31 PM)
I, too, share a similar story and tried several therapists all hurting me more without helping me much. I am on the path of recovery now, since I've joined the 12-step fellowship of Survivors of Incest Anonymous. It has provided the safety and support system I had so desperately needed more than anything else to heal from the pain and trauma. I am healing and growing one day at a time and coming out of my protective shell of isolation. May all of you suffering the pain of any form of abuse find your path to healing and recovery. I pray for you. You didn't cause it and couldn't control it. It wasn't your fault in any way. May we all merit the truest healing as a unified nation with Moshiach now!
(1/26/2013 11:50:36 PM)
To #6
I was abused for 2years when I was a child and I know that when a person has been abused he/she makes a subconscious decision to either be a victim or a survior. Both are normal. As someone who was "ABUSED" you should have more understanding and Rachamim for those who don't have the strength to just move on.BH you are strong, don't flaunt it. That's just nasty!
(1/27/2013 12:09:59 AM)
Thanks for sharing
Best wishes
(1/27/2013 12:51:36 AM)
To number 4
I feel for u, u must have had it rough to be so cold and emotionally detached. I hope u will be helped in some way from this brave girls article.
(1/27/2013 4:19:41 PM)
A Strong Statementof Support is Needed
Unfortunately abusers are unrepentant and can find all kinds of ways to convince themselves and others that they are mamash tzadikim. and that the victim is in the wrong.
(1/29/2013 3:33:47 AM)
Abuse is worse then the holocaust
They holocaust was done by a group of people against a group of people that are persecuted in every generation. They died al-kiddish- hashem. Again they died.

Abuse is something you live through its like living through death and still having to live. Yes, some people were abused during the holocaust. Yes that's way above me to survive. But the point is most of the people that were torchered the most died they didn't have to live the rest of their life having been abused and continuing to be abused. And the holocaust wasn't done by family.
(1/29/2013 7:53:06 PM)
excuse me
Ecuse me, #4! im shocked, appaled, absolutely, DISGUSTED
u could make such a comment. if u dont like these stories, dont read them. here this women tried to get her story out, in order to hel others, and u say those terribel things? i cant even belive they let you post that. and you know, th reason why this women's story is so tragic, is b/c she obiluasly knew if she ever said anything, she would be shot down just like she was now.and, ppl, stop comparing to the holucost, u all have no idea, and its wrong to judge. i personaly thank this anyno,ous women, for writing that articel, im sure it tok courage and bravey, more than this, ---------#4 , who all u do is sit around and judge peopel!
(1/30/2013 6:12:57 PM)
i agree with # 42 completly
shame on you # 4 and 6 do u not understand people like me who went through this can only tell you how traumatic it is we have to open our eyes and stop being so naive please thank you anonymous for your article it gave me stregh and courage you disserve a standing ovation
(3/4/2013 10:27:33 PM)
a regular girl
hi everyone. many ppl, know me, or,
who i represent, .
im a regular crown hieghts girl go to
one of the crowm heights skools for girls.
no issues,
chassidsh, perfect, right.
actualy, no.
i was molested for years .
im not saying this to get pity out of anyone, as number 6 and 4 say. one day, i decided to speak up. at a skool shabbaton, i discovered that over 17 girls in my grade were abused.3/4 of them had never told thire families or anything. like i said, im not posting this for pity. i just want ppl to understand the severity of the situation. u always think its other girls, from other families, but no, im here to tell u, that i could be ur child. im telling the story of dozens of kids. one of them could be yours. and please, thank you to the author of this articel. i cant tell you how many teens in crown hieght can unfourtunately relate to this. and i want to say, coming from a survivor, yes, a survivor
i went thro s/t no body should ever, yet emerged, we
need to do s/t. lets stop all the denial and lies. its cuz of ppl like number 4 and 6 that my story, and the girls and children i represent is never told. i ask one thing of you all. if u know about something going on, TELL PEOPEL tell the police,, tell shomrim, tell anybody, this cant go on. and no, col arrivim zela ze dose not pertain to criminals. maybe u think otherwise, but im telling u, if i was ur child, which i maybe, im sure u would feel other wise. btw, this is number 42, again
(3/6/2013 8:45:04 PM)
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