I write about the things that matter to me. All opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

You've Got To Pick Your Battles

Yesterday I did a very difficult thing and removed four posts from my blog. I did it because the subject was that scandal known as "pizzagate," and I'm not going to get into it here, and you can call me a conspiracy theorist if you want, but it is obvious to anyone with eyes that the media is determined to squash this story.

As PR professionals say, "the coverup is worse than the crime" and so the fact that every single mainstream outlet is determined to label it false without offering any reason for this, or an investigation of its own, it is quite telling. Just like during the election, there is obviously a narrative at play, and anyone who dares to step outside and think critically is immediately branded badly.

But I took the posts down. Because you have to weigh the risks and the benefits of doing things. And while Twitter and Facebook are fine places for social activism, a professional blog about communication sometimes is and sometimes isn't. Yes, it is true that my posts centered on issues like censorship, free speech and critical thinking. Still and all, given the unstable climate we are living in right now, it felt like taking a very delicate balance and tipping it too far.

This not the first time that I've had to be careful about when and how I talk about the social cause I've chosen, which is eradicating all forms of sexual abuse, violence, exploitation and trafficking from this planet, and particularly such assaults on children. (There have been other issues, too, but this one is by far the most prominent.)

About ten years ago, I started to become aware of institutionalized sexual abuse in the Jewish community, and to talk about it. One case in particular caught my attention, in which an unlicensed "therapist" was enabled to abuse a girl he was "helping" and the entire community lined up against her. Ultimately, the predator was sentenced to 103 years in jail.

But in order for the justice system to get there, the victim and all her advocates had to overcome a culture extraordinarily wedded to silence, denial, shame and fear. The intervening years have seen great advances in discussion of the phenomenon of institutional and religiously based sexual abuse in the community; now it is not difficult at all to bring up such topics.

Yet many times when I would write about this--primarily on Facebook--people would ask me if I was not a bit "obsessed." They would say, "you're making the community look bad, don't you see all the good people do?"

The bottom line is, my talking about such a taboo subject was an embarrassment to many people. And though one can easily say "this is their problem, not yours" the reality is that shouting from the rooftops is not always the right thing to do.

And so, rather than trying to raise awareness alone, I lent my voice to others, sharing the work of investigative bloggers and especially endorsing the work of the breakthrough organization Jewish Community Watch.

I believe that life is fundamentally about making a difference. We all have something important to say -- that is our gift from God.

The skill of a great communicator is to know when and how to say it.

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All opinions my own.