When Yoelly started eighth grade, his new teacher seemed to take an immediate dislike to him, striking him almost every morning.
"I was screaming the whole time," Yoelly recalls. "When he finished, he went back to the classroom and I stayed where I was, in shock, gushing blood."
Hasidic children are not given sexual education and Yoelly had no words to describe the rape that continued to occur for the remainder of the school year.
For Yoelly, those awful days were not the worst of it. A few months later, he found the courage to tell his father what had happened. His father slapped him and told him never to mention such immodest things again.
"That day was the worst day of my life," Yoelly says. "I realized that I was all alone. There was nobody to keep me safe."
The teacher who raped Yoelly still teaches at that school. As an adult, haunted by the thought that other children were enduring what he had, Yoelly sought a private audience with the grand Rebbe, or leader, of his Hasidic sect, to discuss the issue. After he told the Rebbe what had happened, the Rebbe turned to his personal assistant.
"He's a shaigetz," the Rebbe said, using a derogatory slur for a non-Jew. "Get him out of here." Yoelly was hustled out of the room with threats of violence.
"I want to go to college," I told my mother.
"We'll have you locked up!" she thundered at me in reply. My parents consulted with rabbinic leaders and by the age of 16, I was ostracized, and shortly thereafter, left to fend for myself on the streets of New York.
I found an apartment and a minimum wage job, and learned to call a handful of ketchup dinner. Some days, when I couldn't afford the subway token, I walked from Brooklyn to my job in Manhattan.
But the terror of my parent's abandonment and my community's rejection was worse than any poverty. Naive and alone, it wasn't long before I was found by people quick to take advantage of me.
When Ari Mandel thinks about his vulnerability as a religious child in Monsey, N.Y., it isn't abuse or neglect that jumps out at him, as much as math class -- or the lack thereof.
"As an 11-year-old, I was in school from 7:30 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, studying religious texts. We had 'English' from 4 until 6 at night, but the class was treated like recess, and after a long day of learning, we had no patience to sit in our seats."
At the age of 12 Ari was sent to yeshiva where he studied religious texts exclusively. That was the end of his secular education.