New York Daily News
January 22, 2013
The statement read by the sexual abuse victim in the Nechemya Weberman case:
Thank you Honorable Justice Ingram for your role during this trial (and beyond). A very special thank you to Assistant DA Kevin O’Donnell and the staff at the DA’s office for your endless hard work and sleepless nights through the trial in order to see justice served.
Standing here, I think back to those years throughout my ordeal where I suffered great psychological damage and fell into severe depression. I clearly remember how I would look in the mirror and see a person I didn’t recognize. I saw a girl who didn’t want to live in her own skin. A girl whose innocence was shattered at the age of 12. A girl who couldn’t look at her own reflection without feeling repulsed knowing what abuse that tortured person was continuously experiencing. A girl who couldn’t sleep at night because the horrifying images of the recent gruesome invasions which had been done to her body kept replaying in her head. A girl who numbed her feelings and froze her emotions every minute of every day in order to stay sane. A girl who was forced to lose any respect for herself. A girl who lost the right to say NO, to an abuser who used and abused her repeatedly for years that seemed like forever and ever. A sad girl who so badly wished she could have lived a normal young teenage life but instead was stuck being victimized by a 50-year-old man who forced her to experience and perform sickening acts for his sick sense of pleasure again and again. I saw a girl who didn’t have a reason to live.
I would cover up the burn marks inflicted on the body he used to serve his sadistic pleasures. Every time I would look at it, I would get flashbacks and feel my body burning all over again. I would cry until my tears ran dry.
But now, with the help and support of sooooo many officials, family members, friends, supporters and of my dear husband, I finally stood up and spoke out. I gathered all my inner strength and courage to go through this battle. A battle of justice, to right in some small way the terrible wrong, to prevent further evil, to protect the innocent, and most of all, to heal. It continues to be a rough battle that brought me, my parents and my family great humiliation and intimidation, aggravation and rejection, strain and loss of business too great to describe. However, this same battle was one of righteousness. A battle that was the voice of other silent victims coming forward to bring this perpetrator to justice. Unfortunately, the others could not or would not publicly testify. Many were too scared to face the opposition and repercussions from the community while others had already passed the statute of limitations. But we were all one voice as they were with me in spirit. These others have identified themselves, sharing their painful story amidst a flow of familiar tears, while privately cheering me on for what they themselves were unable to follow through with.
I really hope (and pray) that this case sets a precedent and will tell other victims, “You have a voice even if you think no one will believe you and even when you’re so scared of being chased and crushed by your community.” Just know that you DO have supporters who will stand by you and ultimately truth will prevail and justice will be served. For religious Jews it is important to note that according to the leading authorities of Torah Law, bringing sexual predators to justice not only does not violate any law including the law of Messirah but is a great and proper thing to do.
Now when I look in the mirror and see my reflection, when I look at my body and see the burns, I can finally look and see past the pain. I can look and see some justice. I can see the other young girls who are now saved from going to and suffering from this monster. This trial prevented them from experiencing the horror I went through. I can finally look at my reflection and be happy that G-d gave me the strength to hold out and stand up for what is right. I can proudly say that even though I have suffered so much as a young girl but I somehow came out as a strong woman.
As for my abuser, how were you able to stand here and deny the torture of all these years? All the abuse and pain you inflicted? You played around with and destroyed lives as if they were your toys! As if they were yours to claim! This kind of physical, sexual and emotional abuse doesn’t just disappear in a vacuum. It takes years and years to heal, possibly to never fully recover. Personally, I feel that the outcome of abuse is in a way far worse than murder. With murder, the person is dead and it is final. By abuse, the victim experiences death over and over, again and again. The abused is never completely dead but instead keeps dying day in and day out with no end to the repeated dying.
Honorable Justice I would like to ask that when you proceed with the sentencing for the crimes committed by my abuser, that even though he will never have a sentence equivalent to the suffering he inflicted, without the slightest bit of mercy or regret, upon innocent, helpless and defenseless souls, that you have in mind to protect and have mercy on his many victims and to protect his potential victims from ever having the opportunity to hurt them. Thank you.