NY legislator looks to help sex abuse victims speak out

Boro Park - Sexual abuse victims in the Jewish Orthodox community were encouraged to speak out by a local assemblyman.

State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D) says this is the most important issue he has dealt with, but he feels it must be done to save lives.

"Someone who is abused today is a victim for the next 30, 40 years," he says.

Hikind organized an event at the local YMHA Sunday to let community members know that he created a task force of 50 experts who will go around to schools and camps to talk about the issue.

"We've got a long way to go. It's not going to happen overnight," Hikind says.

In the Jewish Orthodox community, it is taboo to speak out about sex crimes, Hikind says.

"There's just shame to be in the public light, you'll have difficulties getting your daughters married off if anything is said publicly," he says. "This is a difficult nut to crack, but people want something done."

The assemblyman wants to use the task force to work with rabbis, therapists and community leaders to help educate, and possibly prevent future sexual abuse. Hikind plans to ask Gov. David Paterson to help fund the program.

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