Grunis to Knesset: Sex crimes are equal to murder

After judge says "some women enjoy rape," Livni orders courts to act to educate judges on rape, sexual assault.

June 10, 2013 17:58
2 minute read.
Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women

Livni, Michaeli and Lavie 370. (photo credit: Knesset Spokesman's Office)

Judges will undergo sensitivity training about sexual-assault cases, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said at a meeting of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women on Monday.

The meeting came days after Judge Nissim Yeshaya said during a trial that some women enjoy rape. He resigned later that day, following public outcry.

“I couldn’t imagine that in this day and age a judge could say such words. This requires immediate intensive care,” Livni stated.

“When I heard what Judge Yeshaya said, my first phone call was to the court administrator.

I told him all judges should participate in workshops so they understand the depth of the harm caused by sexual abuse.”

Judges in family courts are already required to undergo sensitivity training, but rape cases are brought before criminal courts.

“I won’t just make a declaration,” Livni added, promising to make sure the new policy is implemented and to update the committee.

Livni explained that cases like this have ramifications on women’s willingness to bring forward their complaints and testify in court. Many women are still uncomfortable or embarrassed to do so, feelings that Livni called “misplaced.”

Knesset Committee on the Advancement of the Status of Women chairwoman Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) said she did not expect her committee to have to deal with sexual assault so often.

“We have a very advanced law for 15 years, but it seems like nothing has happened since then. This is a red light. Hasn’t the time come for us to check what we’ve accomplished?” Lavie asked.

The Yesh Atid MK called for every judge to go through several training sessions for dealing with cases of rape and sexual assault.

Court Administrator Michael Spitzer read a statement from Supreme Court President Asher Grunis, saying that the public outrage at Yeshaya’s statement matches the position of the court.

“Looking at rulings in courts over the years shows that they made a significant contribution to anchoring a woman’s right to her body, to protecting the rights of women and men from sex crimes,” Grunis said.

The statement from Grunis quoted the following ruling: “It is difficult to express in words the severity and breadth of the harm caused to victims of sex crimes. In the courts’ rulings it says more than once that serious sex crimes are equal to murdering the soul of the victim, leaving scars that will not heal.”

Spitzer asked that women who hear an “unusual statement” should notify him.

“We have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior,” he stated.

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