Jewish Community Relations Councilof San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties


We Stand With You!

October 5, 2018
Posted by: San Francisco Interfaith Council

San Francisco Bay Area Religious Leaders Stand in Support of Survivors of Sexual Assault
JCRC Executive Director Abby Porth joins more than 140 leaders in signing interfaith statement addressing widespread scourge.
We believe that sexual assault is not a partisan issue, but a pervasive problem in the United States that requires a public response. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), someone in America is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds.

Ninety percent of adult rape victims are female. Yet out of every 1,000 rapes, only 310 (31%) are reported to the police; only 57 of those result in criminal charges (18% of reported; 5% of total rapes); and, only 13 perpetrators are convicted (4% of reported; 1% of total). The vast majority of survivors never have the opportunity to confront their assailant or find closure in seeing their perpetrator brought to justice.  

While, under federal law, the punishment for sexual assault can range from a fine to life imprisonment, no amount of punishment can ever make up for the harm that this crime causes the survivors. Sexual assault has a serious and long-lasting impact on the survivor, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and flashbacks, and can adversely affect a survivor's relationships with family, friends and co-workers. We know that:

  • 94% of women who are raped experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the two weeks following the rape.
  • 30% of women report symptoms of PTSD nine months after the rape.
  • 33% of women who are raped contemplate suicide and 13% of women who are raped attempt suicide.
  • Approximately 70% of rape or sexual assault victims experience moderate to severe distress, a larger percentage than for any other violent crime.
  • People who have been sexually assaulted are more likely to use drugs than the general public. (

In light of these disturbing facts and statistics, we express our deep admiration for anyone who has the courage, strength, and civic commitment to risk his or her safety, family life, and peace of mind to step forward and tell her/his story.

To survivors we say: our faith communities will redouble our efforts to demonstrate our belief in you. We will walk with you as you face life's challenges. We will support you emotionally and spiritually as you make a personal decision about if and when to go to law enforcement. We will pray with you, and for your continued strength and resilience. We pledge to do more to help you heal from the deep trauma inflicted upon you.  If you are a survivor of sexual assault, please reach out to law enforcement and organizations such as RAINN to report the incident and seek help, and to us for spiritual and emotional support.

We commit to sharing in our communities and beyond our conviction that survivors who report their assaults are bravely sacrificing personal comfort for the possibility of protecting potential future victims. We also commit to sharing our belief that choosing not to report an assault is a matter of personal choice meant for self-protection.

We commit to inculcating in boys and girls in our communities the principles of bodily autonomy and respect for themselves and others. We will teach young people that their personal safety is of the utmost importance. We will challenge the culture that enables sexual assault, and the culture that ignores it. We will bring resources to our communities to ensure that the next generation is able to address the widespread problem of sexual assault, that destroys individuals' lives and tears at the fabric of society.

Together, we can fight this scourge.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. –Margaret Mead

Signed by (organizations listed are for identification purposes only):

  • Imam Abu Qadir Al-Amin, Resident Imam, San Francisco Muslim Community Center
  • Rabbi Mona Alfi, Congregation B'nai Israel, Sacramento
  • Rev. Dr. Eileen Altman, First Congregational Church, UCC
  • The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Eighth Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of California
  • Camille Shira Angel, University of San Francisco
  • Imam Tahir Anwar, South Bay Islamic Association, Zaytuna College
  • Rabbi Melanie Aron, Congregation Shir Hadash
  • Fr. Mesrop Ash, Parish Priest, St. John Armenian Church
  • Fatih Ferdi Ates, Director, Pacifica Institute
  • Rabbi Susan Averbach, Society for Humanistic Judaism
  • Rev. Dana Bainbridge, Urban Sanctuary San Jose
  • Gregory Barnes, Brentwood Unity
  • Rabbi Josh Berkenwald, Congregation Sinai
  • Rabbi Allan Berkowitz, Faith in Action Bay Area
  • Zahra Billoo, Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area
  • Rabbi Mark Bloom, Temple Beth Abraham
  • Rabbi Shalom Bochner, Congregation Beth Shalom
  • David Booth, Congregation Kol Emeth
  • J. Thomas Briody, President & Chief Executive Officer, Institute on Aging
  • Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, Pastor, Third Baptist Church & President - SF Branch-NAACP
  • Rev. Peggy Bryan, Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church
  • Lee Bycel, University of San Francisco
  • Rev. Gerald Caprio, Executive Director, Interfaith Center at the Presidio
  • Cantor Jennie Chabon, Congregation B'nai Tikvah
  • Rev. Susan Champion, Rector, Christ the Lord Episcopal Church
  • Rabbi Steven Chester, Temple Isaiah
  • Terence J. Clark, President, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
  • Rabbi Yonatan Cohen, Congregation Beth Israel
  • Rabbi Mychal Copeland, Congregation Sha'ar Zahav
  • Rabbi Jill Cozen-Harel
  • Rev. Linda Ruth Cutts, San Francisco Zen Center
  • Rabbi Lisa Delson, Peninsula Temple Sholom
  • Sr. Chandru Desai, Director, Brahma Kumaris Meditation Center, SF
  • Rev. Penny Donovan, Magdala Catholic Community
  • Rev. Lori Eickmann, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Rabbi Amy Eilberg, Faith in Action Bay Area
  • Rev. Elizabeth Ekdale, Lead Pastor, St. Mark's Lutheran Church
  • Imam Aladdin Elbakri, West Valley Muslim Association
  • Maha Elgenaidi, Executive Director, Islamic Networks Group
  • Rabbi Diane Elliot, Wholly Present
  • Rabbi Nathaniel Ezray, Congregation Beth Jacob
  • Rev. Rowan Fairgrove, Covenant of the Goddess
  • Cantor Felder-Levy, Congregation Shir Hadash
  • Fred Fielding, Board Chair, Interfaith Center at the Presidio
  • Diane Fisher, Jewish Community Relations Council, Silicon Valley
  • Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., President, University of San Francisco 
  • Rev. Victor H. Floyd, Minister of Spiritual Care, Calvary Presbyterian Church
  • George Gittleman, Congregation Shomrei Torah
  • Rabbi Dr. Ilana Goldhaber-Gordon, Congregation Beth Jacob
  • Marvin Goodman
  • Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Shomeret Shalom Global Congregation
  • Rabbi Sarah Graff, Congregation Kol Emeth
  • Rev. Tova Green, San Francisco Zen Center
  • Rabbi C. Michelle Greenberg
  • Rabbi Nicki Greninger, Temple Isaiah
  • Felicity Grove, Covenant of the Goddess
  • Rabbi Laurie Hahn Tapper, Yavneh Day School
  • Iftekhar Hai, President, United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance
  • G.L. Hodge, Past Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
  • Mark W. Holmerud, Bishop, Sierra Pacific Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church America
  • Rev. Dr. Rebecca Irelan, Willow Glen United Methodist Church
  • Daniel Isaacson, Jewish Family & Children's Services
  • Rabbi Debbie Israel, Congregation Emeth
  • Rev. Wilma Jakobsen, Episcopal Clergy
  • Ameena Jandali, Islamic Networks Group
  • Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties
  • Rabbi Dr. Rebecca Joseph
  • Rev. Ouk-Yean Kim Jueng, Campbell United Methodist Church
  • Rev. Nina Kalmoutis, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Sunnyvale
  • Steven B. Kaplan
  • Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann, Stanford University
  • The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr., Executive Director, United Religions Initiative
  • Rabbi Irwin Keller, Congregation Ner Shalom
  • Rabbi Stuart Kelman, Congregation Netivot Shalom
  • Rabbi Dean Kertesz, Temple Beth Hillel
  • Archbishop Franzo King, Saint John Coltrane Church
  • June M. Kirk, The Interfaith Peace Project
  • Rev. Ronald Kobata, Resident Minister, Buddhist Church of San Francisco
  • Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun Magazine and Beyt Tikkun Synagogue
  • Rabbi Jay LeVine, Temple Isaiah
  • Rabbi Chai Levy, Congregation Netivot Shalom
  • Rev. Dr. Dawn Lindholm, Chaplain at Los Gatos Meadows
  • Rev. Joy-Ellen Lipsky, Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
  • Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman, Pacific School of Religion
  • Rabbi Dana Magat, Temple Emanu-El
  • Harry A. Manhoff, Ph.D., Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Beth Sholom
  • Rabbi Paula Marcus, Temple Beth El, Aptos
  • Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin, Temple Sinai
  • Rev. Michael-Ray Mathews, Alliance of Baptists, Faith in Action
  • Rabbi Laurie Matzkin
  • Rev. Cindy McCalmont, NAMI Santa Clara County
  • Rev. Nayan McNeill, St. Luke's Episcopal Church
  • Jilma Meneses, JD, Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Charities
  • Abby Michelson Porth, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council
  • Rabbi Dr. Laurence Elis Milder, Congregation Beth Emek
  • Rev. Jethroe Moore, NAACP, San Jose
  • Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Community
  • Rev. Will McGarvey, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
  • Nancy Nielsen, Deputy Director, Lutheran Social Services
  • Jenny Niklaus, ALF Silicon Valley Faith Leader Affinity Group
  • Major Darren Norton, Divisional Commander, Golden State Division, The Salvation Army
  • Rev. Zesho Susan O'Connell, San Francisco Zen Center
  • Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon, Senior Minister, Unity Spiritual Center of SF
  • Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones, First Unitarian Church of San Jose
  • Michael G. Pappas, Executive Director, San Francisco Interfaith Council
  • Ishaq Pathan, Islamic Networks Group
  • Rev. Sara Pearson, ELCA Clergy
  • Fr. Jon Pedigo, San Jose Catholic Diocese, Catholic Charities
  • Rev. Steve Pinkston, Maranatha Christian Center, Bellarmine College Prep
  • Rabbi Molly Plotnik, Peninsula Temple Sholom
  • Rabbi Oren J. Postrel, Bend the Arc South Bay/Congregation Shir Hadash, Los Gatos
  • Rev. Scott Quinn, Marin Interfaith Council
  • Abdul Rahman, Islamic Center of East Bay
  • Rabbi Larry Raphael, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Sherith Israel
  • Rabbi-Cantor Elana Rosen-Brown, Congregation Rodef Sholom
  • Kaushik Roy, Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
  • Walter Ruehlig, Interfaith Peace Project Board Member
  • Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Society of SF
  • Rev. Gerald Sakamoto, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin
  • Sister Elaine Sanchez, Tri-City Interfaith Council
  • Ken Sargent, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
  • Rabbi Chaim Schneider, Santa Cruz Jewish Community
  • Rabbi Schwab, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Beth Shalom
  • Rabbi Judith Seid, Tri-Valley Cultural Jews
  • Rita R. Semel, Past Chair, San Francisco Interfaith Council
  • Girish Shah, Jain Center of Northern California
  • Rabbi Judy Shanks, Temple Isaiah
  • Rabbi Beth Singer, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El
  • Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El
  • Rabbi Idit Solomon
  • Rabbi Daniel Stein, Congregation B'nai Shalom
  • Rev. Wanika Stephens, Saint John Coltrane Church
  • Rev. Erik Swanson, Westhope Presbyterian Church
  • Rev. Dr. Charles Tinsley, PCUSA Clergy
  • Rev. Manda Truchinski, Christ the Good Shepherd Lutheran
  • Naomi Tucker, Executive Director, Shalom Bayit
  • Rabbi Heath Watenmaker, Congregation Beth Am
  • Rabbi Sarah Weissman, Congregation Beth Am
  • Mother Tracy Wells Miller, Episcopal Church St. John the Baptist
  • Deborah White, Grace Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Jani Wild, Episcopal Clergy
  • Pastor Connie Winter-Eulberg, ELCA clergy, Peninsula MultiFaith Coalition
  • Shari P. Wooldridge, Executive Director, Society of St. Vincent de Paul-San Francisco
  • The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young, Dean, Grace Cathedral
  • Cat Zavis, Network of Spiritual Progressives
  • Rev. Kanzan David Zimmerman, San Francisco Zen Center

Click through to San Francisco Interfaith Council for updates.