Monday, November 29, 2010

Have you or someone you know been sexually assaulted by a TSA worker? Contact The ACLU

The ACLU has received over 900 complaints from travelers in the United States about the TSA's new pat-downs, providing a unique vantage point on what is taking place at airports around the nation. These complaints came from men, women and children who reported feeling humiliated and traumatized by these searches, and, in some cases, comparing their psychological impact to sexual assaults.
Recurring themes in these reports include:
   • The searches are extremely invasive
   • Many travelers are reporting intense feelings of violation and humiliation
   • Some report being physically hurt by the searches
   • Some feel their searches are punitive
   • Reports of gawking by agents
   • Reports of seemingly unnecessary repeated touching of intimate areas
   • Many vow not to fly any more
   • Any traveler may be forced to undergo one of these searches
Click here:   to contact the ACLU

Pinny Taub Speaks Out about Child Sexual Abuse

This presentation occurred in Chicago on October 17, 2010.

Part 1

Part 2

Rabbi Gedalla Dov Schwartz Speaks Out About Child Sexual Abuse

This is a very powerful and important presentation that was recorded on October 17, 2010, on sexual abuse in Jewish communities.  There are two parts.

Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik Speaking About Child Sexual Abuse

Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik spoke at a workshop in Chicago on October 17, 2010.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dr. Orly Innes is a Hero and deserves support from the world

Dr. Orly Innes, is a hero, not only for her work in Israel's National professional staff of the "City without Violence" program, which aims to confront all types of violence on a city-wide level; but for being brave enough to share her identity. By doing this she is showing the world that sexual assault can and does happen to anyone.  That those who are sexually victimized are never to blame for the crimes committed against them.  

I personally know how difficult that decision can be to go public about being a victim of a sex, especially when you are a public figure.  Over a year ago I also went public about being sexually assaulted by my past rabbi's brother, who is a retired college professor and also has smeicha (rabbinic ordination).  It's a difficult place, needing to heal, yet also wanting to reach out to others who have been victims of heinous crimes.
Dr. Innes, thank you so much for speaking out!


Victim of alleged sexual assault by prospective police chief exposes her identity
Dr. Orly Innes, a prominent anti-violence advocate and activist, says she relinquishes right to conceal her identity in order to empower other victims of sexual misconduct.
By Haaretz Service - November 25, 2010
A woman accusing a top Israel Police chief candidate of sexual assault and harassment revealed her identity in a press conference on Thursday, in an attempt to use the publicity generated by the case in order to empower victims of sexual assault.
Dr. Orly Innes, known as O. since the case was made public last week, was the first of three women accusing prominent Israel Police Major General Uri Bar-Lev.
"I relinquish my right to conceal my identity, I am not afraid," Innes said.
"I did nothing wrong and I am not afraid, I came here tonight to say enough – this is me, this is my name, and this is my face," she said. "I am here tonight to represent the generally quiet, scared and hesitant voice of the victims of abuse."
Innes founded, and is part of the national professional staff of the "City without Violence" program, which aims to confront all types of violence on a city-wide level. She received a PhD in social work from Haifa University, writing her thesis on "Moral Messages in Verdicts regarding Violence against Women in Israel between the Years 1970-2000."
Innes also served as a lecturer at Haifa, as well as serving as the advisor for the CEO of the Social Security on strategic planning regarding social policy.
Innes has also served as the manager of the program for treatment of disassociated Haredi youth, and she has served as the deputy CEO of the ministry of social affairs and social services, as well as the coordinator of professional work done with underprivileged youth.
Speaking during a meeting with women who offered their support in recent days, O. discussed her intention to go public, saying her position as a "well-connected member of the establishment" gave her the "strength that other women do not sufficiently possess to come forward."
She said she will now make an effort to "leverage her position in the hopes of putting forth a plan that would offer protection to sex crime victims."
O. said that legislation is needed to limit media reportage of details and accusations about the private life of sex crime victims, similar to the stories that have been published about her past relationships.
"We must formulate a plan that would give victims of sex crimes the legitimacy to come forward," she said. "Society must protect these women and not turn them into punching bags."
Major General Bar-Lev was interrogated for more than seven hours on Wednesday, answering questions regarding the two complaints of sexual offences that have been made against him.
Bar-Lev underwent a polygraph test and was asked questions about an encounter with M. and S. that occurred in a Herzliya hotel five years ago, and about an incident involving O. that occurred in Eilat two years ago.
While connected to a lie-detector, Bar-Lev admitted that he engaged in sexual acts with the complainant M., but denied her claims that he had drugged her. S., a former friend of M., confirmed Bar-Lev's claim that M. had arrived at the hotel of her own free will.
More on this topic

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Could TSA workers be charged with sexual assault?

© (2010) by Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC

Over the last few weeks we’ve been hearing accusations that several TSA workers have been crossing that narrow line between an ethical pat-down and sexual assault against travelers in airports across the United States.  
Steve Wagstaffe, who is the incoming Chief Deputy DA of San Mateo said in a press release that his office “would prosecute TSA employees who engage in lewd and lascivious behavior while conducting Homeland Security mandated pat downs at the San Francisco International Airport in San Mateo County.” 
Wagstaffe stated “Any traveler who believes the TSA pat down has crossed into the widely reported groping of "sensitive" personal areas should take note of the TSA staffer's name and badge. The traveler should immediately contact a uniformed state or city police officer found at all screening areas to start an investigation. Additionally, the local district attorney's office should be called if a monitor is not in site.”
It has been suggested by various rape crisis centers across the United States that travelers in other jurisdictions also report these incidences to their local state and city police, in hopes that criminal charges can be brought up against alleged offenders.
According to every state in our country, and also under federal law --  it is illegal for an individual to grab, grope or touch our bodies without the explicit permission from the person being touched.  It is also a sexual assault if the individual being touched grants permission under duress.  These are crimes that often mandate a prison sentence. Unfortunately, we all must keep in mind that TSA workers are human beings and some might have transgress that fine line.
If you or someone you know has disclosed what could be described as a sexual assault, contact your local rape crisis center for help. They can also assist you in making police reports, offer you counseling and navigate you through the legal system.  

To find a listing of rape crisis center’s in your area click here.

Vicki Polin  is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and the founder and director of The Awareness Center, Inc., which is the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault

Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA groping and body scan sexual assaults must stop now!

TSA groping and body scan sexual assaults must stop now!
VICKI POLIN: I believe everyone needs to refuse pat downs at airports and find other ways of traveling until our government stops allowing our citizens to be sexually assaulted by TSA workers. This week, several men and women contacted my office, describing situations that would be legally defined as sexual assault.  The perpetrators of these assaults were agents of the United States government.
The victims of these sex crimes were traveling for work and for pleasure.  Some described symptoms of of rape trauma syndrome.

Over the last few years, most of us have been sitting back, watching our civil rights disappear as part of homeland security’s efforts to combat terrorism.

But this week, on the brink of the busy holiday travel season, our government went too far: It is now urging TSA professionals to take pornographic pictures and to commit sexual assaults against our friends and neighbors.

What they don’t realize is that one of every four individuals who travel in airports are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Some were raped as adults.  Does our government not care that their actions are traumatizing those people?

According to every state in our country -- and also under federal law --  it is illegal for an individual to grab, grope or touch our bodies without the explicit permission from the person being touched.

It is also a sexual assault if the individual being touched grants permission under duress.

These are crimes that often mandate a prison sentence -- yet, over the last few days, our government is promoting the sexual assault of its citizens, all in the guise of homeland security, by mandating “enhanced” pat-downs.

If we are not allowed to walk down the streets naked, why is it OK for our government to have strangers frisk us or see through our clothing? What ever happened to our right to privacy?

The next thing you know, they‘ll demand that recording devices (both audio and visual) be placed in our homes, as they did in the former Soviet Union.

How long will we, the citizens of what is supposed to be a “free” country, keep allowing our government to take away our civil rights?

After living in Israel, and seeing firsthand the media hype of terrorism there, the truth is that you are more likely to be hit by a car than by a terrorist.

My body and my personhood are private, and as a citizen of the United States, I should have the right to choose who touches my body and or sees my naked. I'd rather have our government utilize racial profiling prior to flying than allowing TSA personnel to undress and fondle me.

And what about those with children? Do you send your youngster through the radiation of a full body scan just to keep someone’s hands off him or her?

Of those who have been sexually assaulted by the TSA, I wonder: How many are eligible for the Crime Victims Compensation Act, to cover the cost of therapy due the fact they were victims of a sex crime? Funding for the Crime Victims Compensation Act's comes -- you guessed it: the federal government.

A friend in law enforcement recently told me authorities actually discussed an exemption for Muslim women. In fact, many of us who have traveled to the Middle East will joke that when terrorists take vacations with their families, they fly on El Al - the Israeli airline.

That’s because of El Al’s reputation of being able to protect its customers from terrorism. And they don’t need naked body scanners to do it.

The folks at Homeland Security would do well to take some lessons there.


Sexual assault

Definition: sexual contact that is forced upon a person without consent or consent was given under duress or inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent (as because of age or physical or mental incapacity) or who places the assailant (as a doctor) in a position of trust see also rape

Sexual assault in its most serious forms (often classified as first degree sexual assault) involves nonconsensual sexual penetration. In its less serious forms it may be the equivalent of statutory rape.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Awareness Center is mentioned on Oprah's web page

The Awareness Center is mentioned on Oprah's web page
The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter - November 15, 2010

A volunteer sent us an e-mail to day letting me know That The Awareness Center appears on as a resource for survivors of sexual abuse.

Regarding Vicki Polin's Appearance on Oprah

Regarding Vicki Polin's Appearance on Oprah
Vicki Polin and Oprah Winfrey

This page has various articles in which Vicki Polin discusses her appearance on The Oprah Show (May 1, 1989), along with information regarding the bullying attempts to silence her from speaking out against sex crimes in Jewish communities globally.

Disclaimer: Inclusion in this website does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Individuals must decide for themselves if the resources meet their own personal needs.

Table of Contents:

  1. Case of Rabbi Harlan David Kilstein, Ed.D (AKA: Harlan Kilstein, Tsvi Kilstein, Reb Tsvi) 
  2. The Story of A (Sexual Violence) Victim's Advocate (05/12/2005)
  3. Interview about Vicki Polin's appearance on Oprah (05/12/2005) 
  4. Rabbi Blau's Interview About Vicki Polin and The Awareness Center (05/13/2005)

  1. "Saying it Like it is" - Bullying, Intimidation, Extortion Attempts  (04/17/2009)
  2. Speaking Out About Incest  (09/30/2009)
  3. Susan Rosenbluth - Harassment, Bulling, Extortion: Attempts at Silencing Survivors  (04/20/2009)


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Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Am A Veteran Of Veteran's Day - By Vicki Polin

I don't think of myself as a victim, survivor or thriver of child sexual abuse or sexual assault.  I see myself as being a veteran -- just as those who served in the armed forces -- who have fought to protect the civil rights of Americans and citizens in foreign countries. I am personally a veteran of the war against humanity -- the war against allowing anyone to destroy souls.  
Twenty-seven years ago today I was sexually assaulted by someone I knew.  After I was raped I had learned that John assaulted a nun in his uncles parish.  Because of her religious beliefs and perhaps political pressure -- and because she took a vow of forgiveness, this nuns refused to work with law enforcement to have criminal charges press charges against the individual who raped her.  
I always wondered if this nun pressed charges, if I would not have been raped?

One of the things most people don't even consider is that when a woman is raped, she not only risks the possibility of getting some sort of Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), she also might have to face the possibility of becoming pregnant from the assault.  
I was one of the 4.7% of women who became pregnant from the assault.  Like many other women who are faced with this dilemma, I had to decide what I wanted to do with the pregnancy.  I guess on some levels I was fortunate.  Within a few weeks of learning I was pregnant, I learned I had an ectopic pregnancy.  I no longer needed to decide what to do, because the choice was between life and death.
After the rape I used the legal system, yet the assault occurred in November, 1983 -- a few months before the sexual assault acts of 1984 became law.  Nothing happened to the rapist, except for getting a year of supervision for harassing calls after the rape.  
The first anniversary that the supervision was up, the man who raped me some how got my unlisted telephone number -- and left me a threatening telephone message on my answering machine.  He wanted to let me know he was going to come back to do it all over again.  I was fortunate that I happened to be out of town on that day.  I have no idea if he stopped by where I lived or not that night?  Emotionally I didn't call in to get his message until a few days after, the date he said he was coming back.
Jon the rapist stalked me for several years after the assault.  During this time there were no laws on the books to protect me, nor a legal definition for his stalking behavior.  Can you imagine being a young female in her twenties, with no family support trying to cope?  This was one of the most horrendous times in my life.  I was fortunate, because a few years had passed, and there finally were rape counseling centers.  When I called the police to report the phone threat, I was referred to a rape crisis center.  
My rape advocate who was a licensed social worker -- with highly specialized training, helped turn my life around.  It seemed she knew exactly how I felt, what I was thinking and knew all the right people to help protect my civil rights.  Helen G. saved my life and is one of the reason why I've dedicated the last twenty-six years of my life to helping others.  
If it wasn't for Helen and those involved in creating the first rape crisis centers in Chicago and around the world, I would not be here today, nor would The Awareness Center ever have been created.  
My dream for many years has been  to raise enough funds for The Awareness Center to have an international summit/conference to bring like minded people together -- and so that not only could a dialog really get started in the Jewish world, but also so that we could honor the individuals, with whom saved my life -- and in-turn saved the lives of every survivor, parent, community leader who has ever contacted myself or The Awareness Center for help.
The Awareness Center is not unlike any other non-profit organization, we are struggling to stay afloat.  We need your financial support Today! 
I want to be a part of the solution and become a financial supporter of  The Awareness Center, Inc. 
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Skokie, IL 60076

Contributions to The Awareness Center, a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code, are deductible for computing income and estate taxes. 

It Gets Better - Gay Orthodox Jews

This is an incredibly important film clip for everyone to watch, in hopes of saving lives.  The vast majority of those who are GLBT have been bullied, other's been sexually abuse or raped.  Teens who are GLBT have a high rate of suicide then any other group.  This type of insanity has got to stop.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Kristallnach and Sexual Abuse

Kristallnach and Sexual Abuse

November 9, 1938 - Kristallnacht marks the start of the holocaust.  The date in which German and Austrian neighbors stood by and watched as synagogues were torched, how old communities were destroyed and they were silent.  They were witnesses to the atrocities, the torture and the degradation of their Jewish neighbors and they looked the other way.  Their silence and their ignoring of what was taking place, was the same as direct participation. Thus by the silent support of the German population, and by lack of any real reaction by the rest of the world the Holocaust persisted.

The sexual assault against Dinah marks the start of the on-going attack against Jewish children and adults.  The date in which Jewish friends and neighbors stood by and watched how our children were being molested and adult's who were raped, cries for help were ignored.  It marks the time in which  old communities were destroyed and they were silent.  They were witnesses to the atrocities, the torture and the degradation of their Jewish children and they looked the other way.  Their silence and their ignoring of what was taking place, was the same as direct participation. Thus by the silent support of the Jewish population, and by lack of any real reaction by the rest of the world this continues.

Please keep The Awareness Center in mind when making your monthly contributions.  Every dollar donated helps revive the lives of those who have been sexually victimized, and makes a difference in the generations to come.  

The Awareness Center, Inc.
P.O. Box 4824
Skokie, IL  60076

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