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How Should We Handle False Reports of Abuse According to Jewish Thought?


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Once Jussie Smollett was arrested for falsely reporting a crime, it got me wondering if there is any Jewish wisdom we can look to for guidance.

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  1. First, as you mentioned, most people who claim to have been sexually abused are telling the truth.

    Now, in the Orthodox world, the claim of sexual abuse has dramatic negative repercussions for the claimant, regardless of the truth. Those who report to the police, or otherwise claim they were sexually abused by a Jew are thrown out of their yeshivos, have their homes burnt down, lose their jobs, … .

    In other words, an Orthodox Jew would need to be literally psychotic to make a false claim.

    That said, we must believe a Jew who claims to have been abused.

    • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs : August 13, 2019 at 3:13 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Ben, but to clarify, this is not happening in all parts of the orthodox world. But it is unfortunately happening in some parts and should be spoken against in the strongest terms.

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Allison Josephs

Allison is the Founder and Director of Jew in the City. Please find her full bio here.

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