Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, New Jersey, recently denied the existence of campus rape culture in his blog. An excerpt:
"There have even been occasions when the woman who later claimed she was “raped” spent the night, or several nights thereafter, with her beau, only to realize weeks later after their breakup that she had been assaulted."
JWI is horrified by Rabbi Pruzansky’s uninformed and misguided post on the issue of campus sexual assault. Rape and sexual assault are serious crimes that impact millions of women and men in the United States each year, and college women are at particular risk. Through our work on college campuses, we hear from victims and survivors who struggle to heal, to be heard, and to pursue justice. Comments such as Rabbi Pruzansky's cause enormous harm to survivors of sexual violence. His comments tell victims to stay silent, to hide their pain, because if they speak out, they will not be believed; instead, they will be called liars and be blamed for being the victim of a violent crime. There is no excuse for rabbis who publicly espouse damaging and false stereotypes that have long been used to shame and silence victims. Rabbis and community leaders must be vigilant to use their public voices to protect and not to harm.