Monday, October 26, 2009

Men's laps and little girls

A guest post by TikunOlam

A few of us at shul have a rather serious situation to handle. This past shabbos, a thirteen year-old girl was seen sitting on a grown man's lap. This is a married man and father as well as a close friend of the girl's parents. When she got up to go, he kissed her, and barely missed her lips. It is likely that this man has behaved this way in the past, right in front of the girl's parents and the parents have said nothing.

There is some history to this. This man and his family used to live in our community. This shabbos he was visiting for a bat mitzvah. A few years ago, when he was part of our tight knit social crowd, a few of us took notice that he was affectionate with the little girls, he put his arm around one, he tickled another, he had another on his lap. It concerned some, others just thought he liked kids. Having grown up OJ, I often don't know what types of touches are considered "normal" in the non-OJ world, and this friend grew up completely non-religious. And I am easily concerned. Happens after years of treating abused children.

Some told their daughters to stay away from him. I would have, if I had girls. But no one had any concrete reason to believe that he was doing anything other than behaving a bit outside the norm. And then he moved away. And we all forgot about it. Since moving he continues to regularly get together with some of the "guys" of our crowd, but because none of us ever see him around children anymore, we had all just moved on.
And then this shabbos. Those of us who saw or heard are all concerned now. Everyone agrees it needs to be handled. There are some ideas being batted around as to how to handle it. But the more ideas to consider, the better.

Search for more information about handling delicate situations at

Follow DB on Twitter (and btw, I am trying it again too as Tikun_Olam_

No comments: