The Annual report for the year 2016 , published by Women Against Violence association
data collected based on the "Crisis center for Victims of Sexual assaults and Violence".
WAVs' crisis center assisting victims of sexual and physical assaults published its 2016 annual report. The report was prepared based on the centers' approaches, from various women and young women who finally decided to stop violence against them. They called the crisis center to share and talk About their distress, seeking support, help and consultation from professional volunteers and specialists, that believe and work towards women right to live with safety and dignity.
It is no secret that the status of The Palestinian society in Israel, differs from the rest Arab society, As it is a minority suffering from national discrimination, affecting the society in general and women in particular. Palestinian women citizens of Israel challenge masculine concepts – fed by the society to its members from the moment they born – within these concepts women become the weak link in the social roleplays that are provided by the society, and men given the various authorities to dominate over women in his cycle or society through physical violence, mental, verbal or sexual one.
During 2016, the crisis center received 746approaches. 353 among them related to sexual assaults and harassments. The data reveals an increase of 16% in the number of approaches concerning sexual assaults and harassments compared with 2015, where the center recieved 304 approaches. This increase reflects a growing awareness to the services which the center offers in on hand, and on the other hand, an increase in exposing cases of sexual harassment in our community and the intensive efforts which are being made to change this violent situation.
56% of the sexual violence approaches were sexual assaults within the family.
More than half of the sexual violence approaches were rape within the family, it reached up to 56%. 23% among this percentage the rapist was the father, brother, uncle, cousinand grandfather..33% of the sexual assaults were by the husband and 8% among the victims were young women newly married and sometimes in the wedding night itself.
They were assaulted by the husband who forced them to have sexual intercourse violently during which the women expressed and showed the other face of the sexual relations to their husbands, this refutes the common belief that the sexual assaults occur as a result of an instinct and the lack of ability of the perpetrator to control his passion.
We wish to refer here to the research by the scholar Fatima Qasem on language, history and women, in which she dealt with the terms that women use to describe the occupation, and which are inspired or borrowed from the bedroom and also the frightening act which depicts the invasion of the woman's body.
This use of terms, says the researcher, leaves a glimpse of hope for self-empowerment and creating a liberated zone on which it will be possible to build a sound family and a sound society. This is exactly as the young bride should deal within the marriage frame with the violence to which she is subjected to on wedding night and with the shock she is going through.
44% of the approaches on sexual violence were related to harassments and indecent acts and publishing of indecent pictures.
The sexual harassments that have occurred in the work or study places have occupied 25% of the complaints and were of different categories: harassments or indecent acts or threatening to publish pictures of the victims.
The women complained of sexual insinuations and blackmail attempts from bosses or men in charge or from co-workers. Attempts such as showing pictures of sexual nature during work time, pressing them to go out for dinner, pressing them to have sexual relation more than one time, touching them and getting too close to them without their consent. These harassments threaten their existence, their work, their private life and the quality of their work.
Some of them have decided to stop this male capitalist exploitation while others are still hesitant to expose the crime fearing the talk it might stir within the community such as:"she has used him in order to be promoted at work" or "if she did not want it, it would not have happened"
To 51% of the women who approached the center it took more than a year to pick up the phone and complain
Usually it takes a long time for the women to speak up about happened to them. It is difficult to them to reveal the secret that the community has forced them to burry deep inside, for several reasons which are: the difficulty to deal with the fact of the occurrence of the assault,the feelings of shame and helplessness stemming from the incident that has occurred. Difficulty to trust those who surround her, loss of dignity and fear from being murdered and the silence factor bred by fear of exposure and the criticizing attitude towards the victim putting the blamefor the crime on her.
We are stressing the right of the Palestinian woman to live a safe, dignified and equal life and the right to challenge the widespread policy and approach in the society to cover up on the perpetrator and oppressing the victim into silence. This attitude of the society breaches the values of humanity using negative forces against women in order to weaken them.
82%of the women and young women who approach the center did not complain to the police.
When a Palestinian woman, who falls victim to an assault, wants to file a complaint with the police, she may suffer from a long legal ordeal during which she would be subjected to mental and social battles such as getting into the tiniest details of the assault during the judicial process.
This reflects the distance between the Palestinian society and the judicial system and the discrepancy between the requirements of the law and her needs of privacy according to the Arab values.
These facts are the source of lack of trust in the governmental establishments and in the judicial system. This lack of trust makes, in its turn, the woman feel unsecure to go to the police centers to file a complaint knowing that the police is following the government racist policy. All these factors reflect in the data which is presented above.
The percentage of the approaches of a follow up and accompany women victims of sexual violence has reached 44%
This percentage shows a rise in the number of requests for a follow up and accompany women in order to guarantee their rights and to make them feel safe, comfortable and dignified.
The common belief is that a sexual assault happens usually in a dark places and is committed by strangers, but 50% of the sexual harassments and assaults occur in the home of the victim or in a shared accommodation and 90% of the perpetrators are persons known to the victims and related to them
The physical, mental, verbal and economical violence
We should point out that the requests for help received in the center are not are not confined to sexual or physical abuse only. There are complaints of mental abuse which is expressed in imposing some sort of control on the victim which makes her feel uncomfortable or unsafe. 92% of all assaults were of physical, verbal and mental nature.
61% of those were committed by the husband, 14% by a brother and 10% by other family members.
These crimes reflect the imposing of dominance and power within the society and the family and the internalization of the power relationship between the powerful and the weak, legitimizing the male dominance over the woman.
In 18% percent of all the complaints of violence we have received the women have stressed they were prevented on a regular basis from dealing with their income as they wish, or that the husband did not give them the essential some of money for their needs and for their children and house needs.
Finally we would like to thank the team of the able volunteers who carry on the work, day and night, to help the women and girls in a professional, just and humane manner with the purpose of planting the spirit of trust and containment within the women's soulsto help them leave the shell of darkness to the light of freedom, dignity and justice.
The phenomenon of violence against women still happens and is still widespread, moreover it is spreading more and more in all societies .in order to limit the spread of this phenomenon we, as an individuals in the society, must believe in justice and humanity and in a dignified life and in assuming responsibility as a part of this change which starts by eradicating the prejudices towards the victims.
It is your right to speak up and it is not you who should take the blame
We are with you and we are all ears