'Promotion of casual sex to blame for Afula rape'

Ministry expert says society is at fault for repeated rape of 14-year-old girl.

By
February 12, 2010 08:56
3 minute read.
rape victim 88

rape victim 88. (photo credit: )

Society and its promotion of casual sex is to blame for the Afula rape case, where a 14-year-old girl had repeated sexual relations with a dozen teenage boys over the course of a four-year period, Hannah Slutzky, national supervisor for child affairs at the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

“Society needs to make clear to its children that having sex with young girls, even if they come forward and ask for it, is wrong,” she said. “What’s going on here? Children need to know what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate.”

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Slutzky was speaking one day after several of the teens involved in the case were arrested for allegedly raping, sodomizing and sexually molesting the girl, who was only 10 when she began having sexual intercourse with the boys, aged 14-17. Some of the boys are also suspected of threatening and blackmailing her to keep quiet.

“Where are we as a society that such a thing could happen?” asked Slutzky. “What is it that causes a young girl to seek out sexual relations?”

Even though Slutzky heads the Welfare Ministry department that is responsible for young children, it is the local social services in Afula that failed to notice the signs that these events were taking place.

A spokeswoman for Afula Municipality told the Post Thursday that no further details of the case could be revealed because of a court-imposed gag order, saying only “it is being dealt with.”

“There are always a lot of questions surrounding such cases,” commented Slutzky. “We always blame ourselves and ask where the mistakes were made.”

However, she said that such cases are not so simple and many factors can come into play, hiding the truth.

“If a child doesn’t want to talk about what’s going on, even if we get a report about it, there’s no way a child welfare investigator can find out what is really happening,” pointed out Slutzky.

Reports in the Hebrew press, however, suggested that one of the boys finally came forward and reported what was going on to local social services. He described how the boys would perform sexual acts on the girl, tell their friends about it and then bring them along the next time. Initially the girl refused to divulge further information about what she had gone through over the past four years, but later told child welfare investigators that sometimes she had consented to the sex and other times she had not.

Although Slutzky is not directly involved in the case, she did allude to the fact that the girl and her family were known to social services and had a series of social problems.

“Parents who are alert and pay attention to their children will notice if something like this is happening,” she said. “But parents who neglect their children or are violent toward them would most likely not notice if there was a change in their child’s behavior.”

“If a child is already neglected or abused, then changes in behavior [due to rape or sexual abuse] are not always apparent,” continued Slutzky, adding that in such cases it is up to the authorities – social services and educational staff – to be more attuned to what is happening with children.


“It has to come from the authorities,” she said. “Those who provide daily services to children have to recognize and pay more attention to what is going on.”

Slutzky concluded by saying that it was now up to the Education Ministry to examine its own system and to find out how such a case could have fallen through the cracks for so long. She also said it was up to educators to teach young children that having sexual intercourse with multiple partners, especially at such a young age, was not acceptable.

On Thursday, the Education Ministry issued figures on sexual assaults within the school system, ahead of sex education week in Israeli schools next week.

The ministry’s figures showed that there were some 500 reports of peers sexually abusing peers last year in Israeli schools, with the majority of cases (305) taking place among students from 1st through 5th grades, 147 in high schools, 140 in junior high and 15 in kindergartens.


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