Abuse (Illustrative Photo).
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Sexual abuse is far more prevalent among Israeli youth than drug addiction, according to the annual Elem report presented to President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday.
The report, presented by Elem president Nava Barak, chairman Shlomo Yanai and executive director Inbal Dor Kerbel, found that 25% of the young people with whom Elem is in contact use drugs, although not all are addicted. However, four out of five young people have been subjected to some form of sexual abuse.
Founded in 1982, Elem has helped tens of thousands of adolescents and young adults whose lives are in turmoil. The organization does not always wait for youth in distress to turn to them – Elem activists, cruising in vans, often find youth at risk in the streets, talking to them on their own turf. Many have run away from violently dysfunctional families, with one in five reporting domestic abuse or abuse through social media.
The majority of the victims of sexual abuse are young women and girls, some of whom have turned to prostitution to earn money for food and to temporarily have a roof over their heads.
Most are homeless.
Working together with government agencies and local authorities, Elem provides youth centers, shelters for the homeless, counseling and therapy, as well as training for various jobs so that these people can successfully integrate into the job market, and from there into the workplace.
Elem’s mission is to get young people in distress off the streets and into programs that will empower them to take control of their lives and move in a positive direction.
Two such young women, who have rehabilitated themselves with the help of Elem, told Rivlin that through Elem, they had succeeded in realizing their dreams.