Professor of Gender and War. University of Sydney

IDF Sexual Assault Cases Plagued by Victim Blaming and Wrist Slapping

SUMMARY: Lieutenant Colonel Liran Hajbi was convicted of ‘conduct unbecoming an officer’ after being charged with the more serious offence of sexual harassment in March this year. May Fatal was one of the female soldiers under Hajbi’s command who was harassed, and she recently broke her anonymity in protest of the plea bargaining. She particularly recognised that leniency was granted in recognition for Hajbi’s devoted service to the IDF – the take away message being that fighting wars mitigates harassing women. The IDF and many other commentators have focused on ‘what women can or can’t wear and what they should or shouldn’t do to redress the situation [sexual misconduct] – or even prevent it.’ This has shifted blame back onto the victims, instead of on society, the military institution and perpetrators. While gender sensitivity and harassment issues are taught to IDF recruits, there is a more general deficit in the Israeli education system according to Lili Ben Ami, director of the Center for Women’s Leadership in Jerusalem.

SOURCE: Dahlia Scheindlin, May 4 2015, ‘How not to be sexually harassed in the IDF,’ 972Mag,  

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