Woman doing sign langauge

She Was 4 and Deaf. That’s When the Sexual Abuse Began, She Said.

During the last few years, the world has received a thorough education in the psychology of sexual abuse victims — the challenges of coming to terms with trauma, of erasing shame and doubt, of summoning the courage to come forward.

But what if the act of speaking your truth seemed impossible in the most literal sense? What if your abuse amounted to a re-silencing because a twist of genetic fate left you unable to hear or speak, and your silence had confined you all along?

On Wednesday morning, 12 women, all of them students at the New York School for the Deaf during the 1960s and ’70s, filed a suit against it in New York State Supreme Court in Westchester County.

Making use of the Child Victims Act passed by the state Legislature this year, one of more than 700 cases to do so, they claim that they were sexually abused by the dormitory housemaster, a man long since dead, who molested multiple girls on a daily basis, leaving them to struggle with the attendant agonies for decades.

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