A searingly honest, no-holds-barred memoir about a man who shattered the silence about institutionalized child sexual abuse.
Manny Waks was raised in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family, the second oldest of seventeen children. As an adolescent, he was sexually abused at his religious school. Betrayed by those he trusted, Waks rebelled against his way of life, though he later went on to become a prominent Jewish community leader.
In mid-2011, Waks went public about his experiences, seeking to bring justice to the abusers and those who covered up their crimes. For his courage in speaking out, Manny and his family were intimidated and shunned by their community, and he was forced to leave Australia.
Nevertheless, Waks continues to advocate for survivors and to hold those in power to account. His pursuit of perpetrators led him to Crown Heights in Brooklyn and to Los Angeles, where he tracked down one of the Australian abusers and alerted the local Jewish communities to the international dimensions of the child sexual abuse problem.
Back in Australia, Waks was eventually vindicated by a royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse, and many of his attackers lost their positions of power and influence.
This is the story of a man who shattered a powerful code of silence, the battles he has fought, the vindication he has earned, and the extraordinary toll it has taken on his personal life and that of his loved ones.
‘Absorbing … Waks tells how he became a “reluctant troublemaker”, speaking out on behalf of those who fear to do so, and of the renewed sense of purpose this role has given him.’
Fiona Capp, The Age
‘A forthright and compelling narrative … Who Gave You Permission?’ is particularly recommended for parents, teachers, and others entrusted with the care of children, and for all people committed to ending the societal scourge of child sexual abuse. It will also give strength and hope to victims and survivors.’
Anne Webb, +61