A majority of youth, 86 percent of boys and 69% of girls reported that their friends view pornographic films and surf sites on the web containing explicit content, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI).
The study, conducted by the research institute Panels Ltd., surveyed 250 boys and girls ages 14 to 18 on January 1-7 and included questions exploring the teens’ concept of sexual abuse and dealing with sexual assault.
According to the survey, 73%, would not know how to respond if they were exposed to a situation in which a girl has sex with multiple boys.
Furthermore, of the girls surveyed, nearly half, 46.6% knew a girl who had been sexually assaulted, compared to 26.6% of the boys surveyed who knew a victim. In addition, more than a third, 36%, had seen intimate videos circulated by their peers.
The study showed that a majority do not feel comfortable speaking to their parents about sex or about sexual violence; only 35.5% felt they could speak to their parents about these issues.
Only 0.4% would recommend to a friend that was sexually assaulted to report the incident to a teacher, and just 7% would advise speaking to a school counselor.
In contrast, 46% felt that rape crisis centers could serve as a shelter or a place to turn to in the event of sexual assault.
“The data exposed today is not surprising and only serves to further illustrate the scope and severity of this phenomenon,” said Orit Sulitzeanu, executive director of the ARCCI.
Sulitzeanu urged the prime minister to establish a program to raise awareness and counter the growing tide of sexual assault among teens.
“We call on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to stop further deterioration, work tirelessly to reduce the dimensions of sexual assault among teenagers and provide assistance and systematic support for all those boys and girls who have already been injured,” said Sulitzeanu.
The program presented by the ARCCI calls for educational activities, enforcement and prevention, in addition to raising awareness and placing the issue on the public agenda. This, through training professionals in the health, welfare and education sectors to identify sexual abuse; to give school workshops for students in healthy sexual relationships and preventing sexual abuse; as well as establishing a public awareness campaign.