Dramatic rise in number of IDF soldiers reporting sexual assault

Annual report by Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel finds 91% increase of calls to sexual violence hotlines.

November 20, 2018 19:33
2 minute read.
A female Israeli soldier takes part in a training session in Krav Maga at a military base

A female Israeli soldier takes part in a training session in Krav Maga at a military base in the Golan Heights, March 1, 2017. (photo credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)


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The number of IDF soldiers contacting sexual violence hotlines has increased dramatically in the last year following the #MeToo campaign, a report released Tuesday by the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI) has found.

According to the report that there were 1,482 calls to centers in 2017, a 91% increase from the 777 calls received in 2012. Of the total number of calls, 839 of the complaints occurred in military circumstances while 589 complaints by soldiers occurred under civilian circumstances.

The numbers released by ARCCI showed that 358 calls to the centers were to report rape, attempted rape or sodomy, another 672 calls were to report indecent acts and sexual harassment, 365 for verbal sexual assault, and another 74 cases of unwanted peeking or photography.

While 91% of the complaints were against men, there were 58 complaints made against women – a threefold increase from the previous year when there were only 17 complaints made against female assailants.

Numbers given to The Jerusalem Post by the IDF in July showed there were 40 reports of rape recorded by the military in 2017 and an overall 43% increase of complaints regarding sexual assault over the past five years.

According to the military, there were 13 cases of abuse of authority, 165 cases of obscene acts, 263 cases of physical harassment, 349 cases of verbal harassment and 63 cases of unwanted peeking or photography.

At the time 49% of the complaints reported to the military were against conscripts while another 29% were reported by career soldiers.

Six months later, ARCCI’s numbers found that 50% of complaints were against conscripted soldiers while 12% were against officers.

Of the total number of cases reported, 198 were dealt with by the military police, 176 within the unit and another 11 by the police. A total of 1,097 reported cases were not followed up upon by authorities.

ARCCI’s numbers also showed that while 50% of the complaints were against conscripts, 81% of cases opened by relevant authorities were against conscripts and only 8% were against officers.

While ARCCI’s numbers show that soldiers are more comfortable reporting sexual assault, the report found there has been almost no increases in investigations by military police into sexual assaults reported by soldiers and even a drop in cases opened by the Military Advocate General’s Office.

Last year an internal IDF survey found that one in six female soldiers declared that she had been sexually harassed during her service, with 6% saying they had been harassed two or three times and another 3% responded that they had been harassed four times or more.

The survey was conducted by the Chief of Staff’s Gender Advisor, who sent thousands of female soldiers and officers anonymous questionnaires.

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