Victims of rape, sex assault decry failure to try attackers

Lobby group says 80 percent of sex crime complaints are never heard by a judge.

By
June 10, 2011 03:53
3 minute read.
Victim [Illustrative photo]

Rape victim. (photo credit: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Women’s rights groups together with victims of sexual assault and rape protested Thursday night what they believe is the failure of the State Attorney’s Office to adequately bring to trial perpetrators of violent sex crimes.

Calling it a “silencing of sexual assault victims,” more than 150 people gathered outside the State Attorney’s Offices in central Tel Aviv and decried the fact that an estimated 80 percent of complaints concerning sex crimes are never even heard by a judge, and that the majority of cases are closed either by the police or state prosecutors due to lack of evidence or witnesses.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


“The closing of sex crime cases by the prosecution is nothing new, but this phenomenon has forced hundreds of victims of sexual assault to organize themselves together in protest,” said Tal Gutman, a representative of the Lobby for Gender Equality.

She continued: “We believe this phenomenon reflects a whole culture of attitudes towards rape and sexual violence victims in general and it allows violent people to continue living free in our society.”

Gutman said the impetus behind the protest was two recent cases involving high profile public figures both of which were put under gag orders and were eventually closed before ever reaching trial. Neither case garnered any public interest or allowed for additional victims to come forward to give testimony.

“The media was not allowed to write about these cases at all and they were closed without any discussions,” said Gutman, adding that the cases lacked additional witnesses, but other women who might have been affected by the same men could also not come forward to complain because they did not even know about them.

“Here we witness severe gag orders, that although originally intended to protect the identity of the victims, end up protecting the exposure of the suspect,” said Gutman.



One of the activists, who used only her first name, Einav, said “Courts issue automatic gag orders in cases of sexual crimes, to protect the complainants but lately I see the phenomenon of gag orders are being used to protect the attackers and not the complainant. In this way, the courts are preventing the option of finding other victims of the criminal complaint because they do not know there is an investigation against the attacker or that someone else has dared to complain.”

Based on information from the Knesset’s Research and Information Department and the Central Bureau of Statistics, research undertaken by the lobby shows that while 98 percent of sex crime cases see a conviction, it is only a very small percentage of the overall number of complaints lodged by the victims.

In a statement released by the organization, which was set up a year ago to encourage legislation to improve equality and ease the complaints process for victims of rape, it outlined its frustration saying that “Democracy is asleep (or decided to close its eyes) and we have to raise awareness. The legal establishment is lending a helping hand to a common social phenomenon by silencing victims of sexual assault and removing their right to obtain justice.”

The gag orders and frequent file closures, said the organization, “leaves us no alternative but to publish the story of sexual violence on social networks such as Facebook, where we can reveal the names of the attackers.”

Indeed, earlier this year – in an attempt to by-pass the media gag order – information about one of the cases was leaked to a US-based blogger who published multiple details about the case and even named the suspect on his blog.

Related Content

Riot
August 31, 2014
Rioting resumes throughout east Jerusalem Saturday night

By DANIEL K. EISENBUD