What we owe to the true victim of the rape case
Opinion: She is just seven years old, but the horrific assault she endured has been distorted, used, manipulated; this is too much to bear for young delicate shoulders that should only know the weight of a schoolbag, not the prejudices and political machinations of the adults who should be supporting her in her hour of need
She trusted her parents when she told them the truth. She trusted them when they took her to the doctor and when they went to consult with the rabbi.
She trusted the police when they questioned her at least five times to relive what happened there - to tell, to draw, to explain again and again the confusion and the trauma. This is the kind of experience that much older women and much stronger men cannot get through sometimes, let alone a seven-year-old girl.
She trusted the adults to help her ease the pain, to punish the criminal who did this to her, and to promise her it will never happen again.
What she received, however, is carelessness from the authorities, confused and lost parents, and an excited mob trying to use her terrible and private tragedy to advance their political and religious agenda.
Her gentle shoulders, which should only bear the weight of a school backpack, are now required to bear the load of the cynicism we have stacked up on them in just a few short days.
Amid the tweets of various politicians, calls for the death penalty and heartless claims of an invented attack, there stands a little girl who innocently believed all of these people would help her.
Instead, they trampled all over her privacy, while her rapist is still free. And after the main suspect in the case was released, the confusion intensified even further and caused a whole bunch of other politicians to start pushing their own agenda.
And so it went from "the Arabs are to blame" to "the ultra-Orthodox are to blame."
Because that's how it is. Rape cases are only interesting to the public as long as there is an agenda to pursue. After all, sexual violence is everywhere, and happens all the time.
So convenient to say it was "them" – the Arabs or the Ultra-Orthodox – and to mark them as the ultimate “other” instead of internalizing that we have created this impossible reality in which every child, every person, in any community, may be a victim. And it could be done by anyone.
How many girls and boys like her are there? Those that dared to speak; those who agreed to be questioned. And then their case is closed. And their attacker continues walking free because no one can get results.
And their case won't make the evening news, and won't be on everyone's lips. This is the norm, a completely unacceptable norm. These kids deserve for us to believe them, hug them, provide them professional help. And it doesn't matter where they come from, or what their background is.
It's up to us to speak out and create a protective environment. Learn and actively work at it, and never give up and never accept silence.
It's up to us to restore that fragile trust, which was broken and fractured even before it flourished.
And you, good child, you need to know that you are not alone in this. We believe you. We believe in you. You are the story, it is you that matters, and we all need to rally around you to ensure you have a good life, the life that you deserve.
This is what we owe her.