Kaylie*, an 18 year old College student in Chicago, had recently posted this image on her Facebook page with this caption:
“I'm a survivor of sexual abuse.
This is not a new thing. I've been a survivor as long as you've known me.
Are you going to change your opinion of me just because three evil people took advantage of me?
Are you embarrassed of me? Are you willing to share our story?
Let's see who my real friends are.”
Just a few hours ago, Kaylie* received the following email from one of the dean’s at her school with the subject line “Breaking all Boundaries”:
From: Esther Shkop <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 12:11 PM
Subject: Breaking all Boundaries
Cc: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
I received an anonymous phone call last night with a message from one of your "friends" on Facebook, who expressed great consternation and concern that you have chosen to publicize to "friends" (regardless of their age, sincerity and level of intimacy) your history of sexual abuse. Your public Facebook page is troubling enough, as is your Google history [which are open to the whole world]. It is troubling primarily because you have chosen to identify yourself by your pathology. You no longer appear as a full human - but rather as "case study" of a young woman warped by her childhood experiences, and is thus identified wholly by that past.
I am not asking you to deny your pain. I am asking you to exercise a measure of discretion, and develop a plan to go beyond your past towards healing. You seem too intent on wallowing in the past, and drawing sick attention to yourself for all of the wrong reasons.
At the same, you identify yourself as a student of Hebrew Theological College, and by association besmirch your peers as well as yourself.
This misuse of social media is definitely a violation of the HTC Personal Conduct Policy (see page 17 in the Student Handbook). Consequently, the HTC Administration is putting you on formal notice that all inappropriate materials should be removed from your Facebook page forthwith - both on the front page and the back pages.
If you have questions about what is and is not appropriate, feel free to come to speak to me or Mrs. Lipshitz.
Esther M. Shkop, Ph.D.
Dean, Machon Torani L'Banot
Blitstein Institute of Hebrew Theological College
2606 West Touhy Avenue
Chicago, IL 60645
Hebrew Theological College’s actions would reduce free speech to misconduct and Kaylie* and her courage to nothing. The school’s actions are the only misconduct, and it is utterly horrendous.
If you believe the school should rescind its notice of misconduct and issue an apology to Kyalie* and other survivors, please contact:
Chancellor, Dr. Jerold Rabbi Isenberg
Assitant Dean, Rita Lipshitz