Some 68 percent of people who knew someone who had been sexually abused never reported the case to authorities, according to a survey released this week by the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI).
The survey, which was conducted among 400 men and women over the age of 18, also revealed that 42% of those who reported witnessing sexual abuse said it had occurred in the workplace; 19% on public transportation; 15% in leisure locations; and 7% in places of study.
More than 83% of women and 62% of men agreed to say they believe sexual abuse includes things like close contact, photography and distribution of intimate pictures, touching the body without consent and sexual intercourse without consent.
The report also focused on reasons why sexual abuse cases remain unreported.
More than half of respondents said they did not believe reporting the case would help; 33% said they did not report a case for fear of harming themselves or their relatives; and 13% said they feared that people would not believe them.
About half of the respondents also said they had witnessed sexual harm in their immediate environment. Forty-four percent of them did not react in any way.
The data was published ahead of the ARCCI’s annual fund-raising campaign, which is being launched this month in partnership with the drugstore chain Super-Pharm.
The store will raise money for the cause through the purchase of greeting cards.
“The data indicate that the phenomenon of sexual assault is widespread,” ARCCI head Orit Sulitzeanu said in a statement.
“The data concerning the conspiracy of silence, and showing that more than half of respondents did not believe that there is reason to complain is particularly alarming,” Sulitzeanu continued. “The mobilization of Super-Pharm for the fund-raising campaign helps aid centers to continue providing support and assistance for victims of sexual assault, and helps break the silence by expanding education and information activities of the relief centers.”
Super-Pharm head Nitzan Lavi added that the company supports ARCCI out of a “sense of mission,” and seeks to “deliver a clear message, both to our clients and our employees, that we condemn sexual assault – a violation which requires support and assistance.”