Thousands of demonstrators marched from Rabin Square to Habima Square in Central Tel-Aviv on Thursday night to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Among them were Hadash MK Ofer Cassif (Joint List) and several Communist Party, Hadash, and Communist Youth activists.
Banner in Hebrew and Arabic carried by young Communists during the demonstration held in Tel-Aviv on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, November 26, 2021 (Photo: Zo Haderech)
The protesting women and men carried signs reading: “Silence is not consent” and “You are not alone.” Signs in Hebrew and Arabic were carried by Communists. In addition, dozens gathered in Jerusalem’s Zion Square with drums and signs reading: “You are not alone” and “It isn’t your fault.”
Nearly 5,000 of the reported 8,508 sexual abuse cases in Israel in 2019-20 involved victims aged 17 and under, according to a new Knesset report. The report was published on Tuesday in the Committee for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equality, chaired by Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash).
According to data provided for the report by the Association of Rape Crisis Centers (ARCCI), the most widely reported category of offense was rape or attempted rape, which involved 37 percent of all calls for help made to hotlines. Moreover, while figures showed that 89 percent of such calls were by women, 57 percent of the total were with regard to minors, and 33 percent involved minors aged between 13 and 18. In addition, all of the requests referred to an alleged perpetrator already known to the victim, and in 32 percent of cases, the former was a family member.
“Men constitute an absolute majority of the suspects in police cases for sexual offenses with registered victims, no matter the age or gender of the victim,” confirmed the report.
In 2019 and 2020 together, over 10,000 sexual offense cases involved a registered victim, and no significant difference was found in the number of cases filed per year, with almost 5,200 filed in 2019, and a similar number in 2020.
“The data compiled by the ARCCI shows that the epidemic of sexual assault is still one of the biggest challenges we face as a society,” said Touma-Sliman. “The data shows that sexual assault, especially following the difficult Covid-19 period, does not exempt anyone – men and women, children and adults, young and old.”
The Hadash MK pointed out that an increase in the number of calls to hotlines shows an important rise in awareness. “Women and people who have been harmed today know more and more that sexual violence is illegal and illegitimate in every context. This is an important development, and this awareness needs to be strengthened further.”
She added, though, that 80 percent of the cases that are opened do not lead to an indictment. “The conclusion is that there are further intrinsic problems in the police and the prosecutor’s office dealing with the phenomenon.”
ARCCI Director-General Orit Sulitzeanu explained: “Our annual report reveals the gap between the welcome change in public discourse in recent years, and the state’s continual inability to address the phenomenon of sexual violence. We have collected and published this data to show that this is not a localized issue, but a systematic and comprehensive problem. We call on the new government to view this picture and understand that systemic problems require systemic solutions.”
According to additional data, almost half of the 8,508 reported sexual abuse cases against women in 2019-2020 involved victims aged under 17, another Knesset report has found. The report was compiled ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women that will be marked on Thursday and was published for the Committee for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equality,
Between 2019 and 2020, over 10,000 sexual offense cases were opened with a registered victim, and no significant difference was found in the number of cases filed per year, with about 5,200 filed in 2019, and a similar number in 2020. However, despite the number of cases remaining roughly the same, the number of sexual offense incidents rose, and there was a 5% increase in the number of offenses detailed in each case. Whereas in 2019, a total of 4,160 incidents were documented, in 2020 the number rose to 4,340.