Female Orthodox Jewish book author threatened with gun after writing child sex abuse book in Brooklyn
(Scroll down for video) An Orthodox Jewish woman was harassed and threatened with the sound of gunshots after writing a book about child sex abuse in the Brooklyn, New York Jewish community.
Judy Braun, 31, grew up in the strictly Hasidic neighborhood of Borough Park, Brooklyn, and remembers her happy childhood, full of summer camping trips in the Catskill Mountains.
However, at age 12, Braun says she had a terrifying experience that is haunting her until this day. She found her friend trying to hang herself in a bathroom, and found out that she had been sexually abused.
Braun said that the adults she told about the suicide attempts were deaf. She said she saw firsthand how the community refused to recognize that one of theirs could sexually abuse a child.
"Our rules and our laws should keep us pure, keep these things from happening. Coming to terms with the fact that this is going to happen undermines the whole idea of our way of life," Braun said. "If our lifestyle does not prevent our men from become beasts, then what is the point of our strict rules?" She asked.
Feeling trapped by tradition, Braun eventually married and had children. At 25-years-old, she secretly began writing a book about what she saw as a child.
This fictionalized account of her ordeal, "Hush", was published anonymously in 2010. While some supported her efforts, when her real name was leaked as the author, the threats began to come in, she said. She was given a copy of her book covered in fake blood, her car windows were smashed and threatening messages were left on her phone.
In the video below, you can her the sound of gunshots on a voicemail that was left on Braun's phone.
"When you are an author of a book and publicly humiliate the community, there is a full campaign against you at all levels," Braun said.
Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz said people are recognizing sexual abuse is occurring.
"These types of crimes have to be eradicated," he said. He insists, however, that the community can handle the problem internally. "We have to do it in a way that the community knows. We know best how to solve our problems. Sometimes, when you come banging drums from the outside, the community becomes more insular,” he said.
In the past two years, Braun has emerged publicly as the author of "Hush" and began to speak out against abuse in the community. She divorced her husband and recently moved with her children out of the limits of her old Hasidic neighborhood.
"It gives you more psychological safety," Braun said.Mobile video not loading? Click here to view