1 in 8 female soldiers has reported harassment

1 in 8 female soldiers has reported harassment

IDF report notes that while more soldiers filed complaints in 2013 than in previous year, 61% chose to stay silent

Yifa Yaakov is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Female soldiers train in the Negev desert. (Gili Yaari / Flash90)
Female soldiers train in the Negev desert. (Gili Yaari / Flash90)

One in eight female soldiers in the IDF has reported sexual harassment or abuse, according to a report released Monday by the office of the IDF Chief of General Staff’s women’s affairs adviser, Brig. Gen. Rachel Tevet-Wiesel.

The report revealed a gradual rise in the number of soldiers, both male and female, who have reported sexual harassment or abuse in the last two years.

“The rise in the number of complaints by men does not necessarily correlate to a rise in the number of men harassed,” Tevet-Wiesel, who compiled the report, was quoted by Channel 2 News as saying.

Tevet-Wiesel said the data pointed to reforms which “enable more men to seek assistance” anonymously, without forcing them to involve or notify their commanders.

The new regulations, Tevet-Wiesel said, benefited female soldiers as well: “The feeling that victims weren’t coming forward led us to adopt a more therapeutic approach. We assured them they didn’t have to file a complaint, and that it was more important that they come to talk and get help,” she said.

Tevet-Wiesel said the army also used more “sophisticated” methods to combat sexual harassment, such as military police moles.

However, despite the overall rise in the number of complaints, the findings showed most female soldiers who were sexually harassed — 61 percent of women who sought help after going through harassment — eventually decided against reporting the incident or filing a complaint against the perpetrators.

The report, which was filed by Tevet-Wiesel to the Knesset’s Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, showed that the number of soldiers (male and female) who reported sexual harassment rose from 511 in 2012 to at least 561 in 2013.

Forty-nine percent of the reported incidents were said to be physical, while the rest were described as verbal harassment.

Four percent of the cases ended in rape.

An additional 396 were reported to have taken place while the soldiers were in a civilian setting — a significant rise from 266 cases in 2012.

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