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Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Getting Away With Murder

In Crime in Israel on April 28, 2011 at 00:27

Karp Killers Side-Step Murder Conviction

Thanks to a Tel-Aviv court three Jaljulya men  in prison for beating a man to death in front of his wife and daughter in 2009 side-stepped life-in-prison.

Manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 20 years. Anyone want to guess the average percentage of time convicted criminals in Israel actually serve?

And how much time with Leonid Karp’s wife and daughter “serve” without their husband/father and with the memories of his brutal murder?

via 3 Karp killers convicted of manslaughter, not murder.

The Katzav Effect

In Sexual Assault on March 26, 2011 at 21:43

TIME Magazine
Friday, Mar. 25, 2011
Israel’s Katsav Rape Case: A Plus for Women’s Rights?
By Karl Vick / Jerusalem

In a parliamentary government like Israel’s, pretty much all executive power resides in the Prime Minister. The office of President carries certain responsibilities, such as signing treaties and appointing the head of the central bank, but it’s largely a ceremonial post. Israel’s head of state is basically there to make the country look good.

So when Moshe Katsav, who held the office from 2000 to 2007, was convicted of rape last December, it did not enhance the dignity of the office. Nor did the outburst Tuesday morning in the Tel Aviv courtroom where he had just been sentenced to seven years in prison. “You are mistaken, ma’am, you are mistaken!” Katsav cried to one of the three judges he faced. “You have committed an injustice! The judgment is wrong! You allowed lies to emerge victorious! The women know that they lied! They know that they lied, and they are laughing at the judgment!”

The jurists took turns trying to calm the defendant — “Sir, sit down quietly, with dignity,” one of them said — then returned to reading out the sentence. In addition to jail time, it calls for Katsav to pay 100,000 shekels (about $28,500) to the woman he was found guilty of raping when she worked for him at the Tourism Ministry, which the Likud Party loyalist ran in the late 1990s. Katsav also must pay the equivalent of $7,100 to one of two former employees of the President’s residence whom he was convicted of sexually harassing. His attorneys announced he would appeal.

In the spasm of agonized national self-reflection that immediately ensued, one positive note was sounded again and again: in a country that still regards itself as the only democracy in the Middle East, “nobody is above the law, not even a former President,” as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put it.

In fact, Israelis have grown accustomed to the long arm of the law reaching into the highest levels of government. Netanyahu was elected to an office vacated by Ehud Olmert, whose trial for corruption is under way in Jerusalem. The nation’s political landscape is stippled with former officials widely expected to resume their careers after waiting out penalties.

The real import of the Katsav conviction is the offense. Israel once enjoyed a reputation as an early exemplar of women’s rights. Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister in the 1960s. Young women wait at bus stops wearing olive green fatigues and carrying M-16s, military service being compulsory for both genders.

But in the corridors of power, it’s been a man’s world for generations. “This is considered a feminist country? That’s something new to me,” laughs Irit Gazit, who runs the legal aid bureau for the Women’s International Zionist Organization. An expert on sexual harassment, Gazit has been conducting workshops for the Israel Defense Forces. With its heavily male officer corps and legions of young female conscripts, it has often had to deal with accustions of harassment, yet it remains a crucial role model for a society that reveres its military.

In the gradual change of public attitudes, women’s rights advocates say a pivot point was the 2001 conviction of Yitzhak Mordechai, a retired major general convicted of indecency after being accused of unwelcome advances by a string of female subordinates. “While we were having coffee, he forced himself on me,” one testified. “He lay on top of me and tried to put his hand inside my blouse. I said to him, ‘Itzik, what are you doing?’ ” The accusations came in what would be a familiar pattern: news of the first complaint was followed by a wave of others. “It was a common assumption that if you were in a powerful position, you could do whatever you want,” says Gazit. “It was common in the army.”

The assumption has grown a bit less common with the publicity surrounding each new case. And there have been a lot of them. In one week last November, the nominee for national police commissioner was undone by a complaint from a woman who said he had sexually assaulted her at a conference. After another women alleged he had raped and drugged her, the candidate claimed the incident was not only consensual but a threesome. Meanwhile the director of the public security ministry resigned, acknowledging a relationship with a subordinate “that went beyond the bounds of work.”

Meanwhile, Katsav’s yearlong trial proceeded largely out of view, the three-judge panel barring most press coverage after sensationalized coverage of the investigation. The verdict included the judges’ tart observation that the Iranian-born Katsav had attempted to frame his accusers, followed by the court’s release of audio tapes supporting the allegation. “Now is a time of change,” says Gazit. “We need to educate men and women both. I hope cases like Katsav’s really serve this purpose.”

There is evidence they do. In January, the civil service commission reported that sexual harassment complaints were up 40% over a year earlier, a surge attributed largely to increasing awareness of the issue. Rape crisis counselors referred to it as “the Katsav effect.”

Heroism in the Midst of Horror

In Heroism on February 17, 2011 at 14:25

The past few months, we here in Israel have lived through some horrendous tales of violence and sexual abuse and misconduct. Our former President was convicted of rape, a highly-important rabbi indicted for sex crimes and stories of murder and sexual assault of young men and women, often at the hands of their peers, abound.

Despite that, or perhaps because of that, this is a story I think we all need to hear: The story of one woman’s outstanding heroism in the midst of the horrible conditions being endured by Eritrean refugees.

While the world looks to Egypt for new hope, hundreds are being killed and tortured for financial gain on her Southern border.

A hopeless situation? Perhaps. But not according to Zeid and the 50 people she who owe her their lives.

 

A  Heroine  Seeking Shelter: Despite Being Raped, She Freed Her Colleagues

Walla! News

Boaz Wolinic

Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Zeid, a 30-year-old asylum-seeker who had been raped by Bedouin smugglers in the Sinai,  managed to steal the keys to the prisoners’ cells and release her comrades. This according to the testimonies of prisoners who fled to Israel

About 50 asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea were able to escape two weeks ago from Bedouin smugglers who held them in the Sinai and reached the Israeli border. About 30 of them managed to cross the border, while the others were apparently sold by Egyptian soldiers back to the smugglers. This is according to the testimonies of four refugees who entered Israel and told their version of the story to the Hotline for Migrant Workers.

The prisoners who escaped owed their lives to Zeid, a 30 year old prisoner, who through ingenuity and courage, managed to release them from the camp. They said that about ten days ago she was brutally raped by one of the guards at the smugglers’ detention camp. The refugees explain that when the smugglers returned  Zeid to the camp grounds, she stole the key to to the prisoners’ cell and hid it in her hair.

The group that was released from their cells took  captors’ Kalashnikov rifles, threatened them, and fled, armed to the Israeli border. Before crossing the border into Israel, they threw down their weapons and, thereby,  secured their entry into Israel, directly into the hands of IDF forces who took them from there to Ketziot Prison.

Zeid, the heroic prisoner, currently remains at Ketziot Prison. Abraham Asmelsh, age 25 from Sudan, who was able to escape thanks to her efforts asked to say one sentence to her : “Thank you Zeid. Thanks to you, we are still alive.” Abraham promises to keep the  key  Zeid brought to him for the rest of his life.

Rape, Starvation and Violence

The place where the refugee group was held for the past six months was like a pigsty. Conditions were appalling and difficult – without regular food, toilets, showers or proper places to sleep. “We got a half-liter bottle of water per day. When it was very hot, we were given two bottles per person,” says Mussa Naim, one of the asylum seekers who had been imprisoned by the Bedouin. “When I came to the desert I weighed 85 kilo. Within six months I lost 30 kilo.”

“They were taking the women every day. When I tried to prevent them from taking them, they beat me with sticks. I still have signs,” Musa said, “They argued that the women were not my sisters, so it was not my business what they did with them. The women were crying and shouting. I could not sleep. After several months, it became clear that none of them got their monthly menstrual cycle. Some of them did not realize that they were pregnant. ”

Dozens of concentration camps of asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea are operating in  the northern Sinai Desert, half an hour from the border of Israel – Egypt. A report that was prepared by the “Hotline for Migrant Workers” presents accumulated testimony of experiences of severe abuse from asylum seekers who managed to reach Israel. According to the report,  ownership and control of the camps is divided between the Sinai Bedouin smugglers, and  Egyptian military personnel, who maintain an extensive business relationship with them.

Terror, Criminal and National, Strike in the Heart of the Country

In Crime in Israel on December 25, 2010 at 22:52

Knife used by terrorist in a recent attempted stabbing

The terrorist stabbing  incident in a national park that left Kay Wilson of Givat Ze’ev badly wounded and took the life of her American friend Kristine Luken (see below) has the entire country up in arms.

Understandably. Meanwhile, deaths by stabbing have become a weekly if not more frequent event in our little corner of the world.

When will the citizens of this country be just as outraged  and prepared to step forward to stop criminals from killing and maiming as they are to stop terrorists?

Meanwhile a national prosecutor strike is throwing a wrench into our already overworked and under-achieving criminal justice system. Even accused terrorists, murderers and pedophile Oren Korido have been released to house arrest because prosecutors are refusing to try cases until their strike is settled.

Don’t we have enough challenges to deal with already? Let’s hope the prosecutors and their bosses will hurry up and come to terms— before anyone falls victim to the criminals flowing out the justice system’s revolving door.

Police: Stabbing was probably a terror attack

By MELANIE LIDMAN
19/12/2010

“We are still looking at all directions, continuing the investigation,” says police spokesman, after US woman found dead near J’lem.

Saturday’s stabbing and murder of two young women in a forest near Beit Shemesh were probably a terrorist attack, police said on Sunday.

The police investigation is still under way into the attack that wounded Givat Ze’ev resident Kay Wilson, an olah from Great Britain, and killed her American friend Kristine Luken, as they were hiking in the wooded hills west of the capital.

“We are still looking at all directions, still continuing the investigation, and questioning people who may have seen them,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “The main direction is that this was a nationalistic attack, though we haven’t ruled out the possibilities of a criminal incident.

“There have been no claims [of responsibility] by [terrorist] organizations,” Rosenfeld noted, however.

The body of Luken, a US citizen living in England who was visiting Israel, was found south of Mata, approximately 400 meters from the road between Mata and Beit Shemesh, police said. Her body was discovered around 6:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Wilson, a tour guide who worked part-time for Shoresh Tours, a Christian tour company, was stabbed and seriously wounded and handcuffed, but managed to drag herself to the road. There she saw two families, who called the police.

After she gave a brief account of the incident, Magen David Adom evacuated her to Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.

On Sunday, police investigators interviewed Wilson in her hospital bed for several hours.

Her condition was improving and she was expected to leave the hospital in two to three days, a Hadassah spokesman said.

“[Wilson] had her hands bound, and she was stabbed pretty bad in the upper part of her body,” Rosenfeld said. “The obvious intention was to have her killed. This was not something where they were just trying to take her purse. It was a serious crime scene. We’re talking about two women walking around the Jerusalem Forest, we’re not even talking about Judea and Samaria.”

Wilson described her ordeal, telling reporters that her attacker removed her Star of David necklace and then stabbed her in the chest.

Wilson and Luken had been hiking in the woods when two Arab men asked Wilson for water in Hebrew, she said. After they disappeared from view, Wilson became uneasy about their intentions, and told Luken they should return to Mata.

As they walked toward the village, the attackers pounced on the women, stabbing both repeatedly.

Wilson said her attacker had used a knife with a huge blade, adding that it looked like a bread knife. Wilson managed to produce a small blade of her own that she carried for selfdefense, and stabbed her attacker once, she said.

But after being stabbed again and again, Wilson fell to the ground and played dead, waiting for the men to leave. She provided harrowing descriptions of hearing her friend struggle for breath before dying on the ground beside her.

After a few minutes, Wilson found that she was able to stand up, and walked toward Mata. She saw a passing car but was unable to shout due to as she was having difficulty breathing.

She then found the two families sitting in a park, and turned around to show them that her hands had been bound. The family alerted police.

Several hundred people searched for Luken overnight Saturday, including units with rescue dogs, combat soldiers, police helicopters, mounted police, and several hundred other police officers.

After Luken’s body was found, police remained at the scene for three hours, combing the area for information.

The security level had not been raised in the Jerusalem area as of Sunday, though police were coordinating with security in the villages around Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh to be extra vigilant.

Rosenfeld said the police were waiting for “concrete answers” before updating security procedures.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

Man aged 20 stabbed to death in TA brawl

By YAAKOV KATZ

17/12/2010

4 arrested on suspicion of involvement in argument which lead to attack; Lawrence Amsis found laying on sidewalk bleeding profusely.

Four youths were arrested over the weekend on suspicion of being linked to the fatal stabbing of 20-year-old Lawrence Amsis early on Friday morning outside the Terminal nightclub in Tel Aviv.

Police say Amsis was set upon by a group of suspects on Rehov Hatzfira near the club following a verbal altercation in the nightclub, situated in Tel Aviv’s Yad Harutzim area, the scene of lethal violence in the past.

During the fight, one of the suspects produced a knife and stabbed Amsis, police said. He was rushed to the Ichilov Medical Center in Tel Aviv, but died of his injuries within a few hours on Friday morning.

Soon after his death, police arrested two suspects aged 20 from Tel Aviv and Rishon Lezion on suspicion of being linked to the incident.

On Friday morning the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s court extended the suspects’ custody by three days.

The suspects hid their faces beneath their clothes during their arraignment to avoid photographers.

Two additional suspects, aged 18 and 22, both from Holon, were arrested on Saturday evening in connection with the stabbing.

“The background to the mass brawl that broke out in the club, and continued outside it, is still unclear,” Tel Aviv police said in a statement.

Police have shut down the Terminal nightclub for 30 days.

Relatives of Amsis said he worked in plumbing and had been saving money for higher education.

Friends at the Christian Scout youth movement where he was active have expressed shock at his violent death.

The homicide investigation is being led by detectives from the Yiftah police station.

15-year-old dies after stabbing in Beersheba

By JPOST.COM STAFF and YAAKOV LAPPIN

09/25/2010

Police believe stabbing outside absorbtion center followed argument with youths; MDA crews arrive after youth found by passer-by.

A 15-year-old teenage boy died of stab wounds in Beersheva on Friday night after being involved in a fight with other youths near an absorption center, police said.

The youth, a resident of Kiryat Arba, was found in a mortally wounded state by a passer-by and was rushed by paramedics to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva, but died of his injuries soon after arrival.

Police launched an investigation, and arrested four suspects on Saturday – three minors and an adult – on suspicion of being involved in fight which led to the youth’s death.

The suspects have denied any involvement. They were questioned at Beersheva police station.

Police suspect a fight broke out between two groups of youths during which the teenager was repeatedly stabbed.

The investigation continues.

The Bitter Taste of Victory: a Self-Defense Success Story

In Sexual Harrassment on November 28, 2010 at 13:37
A short time ago, El HaLev received a letter from a graduate of one of our 10-hour self-defense program. One night, this young woman went to a bus stop. A young man began to stare at her, moved closer and sat down next to her on the bench. He began by making verbal overtures and then, sexual advances . She resisted verbally. He began touching himself, left and returned. Finally, she called a friend waiting at the next bus stop, who ran over to join her at her stop and the harassment stopped.

“What did I do wrong?” was the underlying question posed by the letter.

This was  my response:

Thank you for your letter. First of all, what a harrowing experience!  We are angered and saddened that you had to experience it at all. And we are very impressed  that you have decided to turn it into a learning experience. We applaud your strength and your wisdom.

First of all, here is a list of several things we can tell from your story that you did right:

  • You trusted your intuition when it told you that something was not right about the situation
  • You tried to put distance between yourself and the man who was worrying you.
  • You saw the situation as one that might require self-defense skills
  • You sat down next to someone else to create safety in numbers
  • You tried to set a verbal boundary
  • You kept reassessing the situation as things changed
  • You called your friend for support and help
  • And, most of all, you never gave up

So, as disturbing as your experience was, you succeeded in keeping an incident that started off as sexual harrassment into what your attcker clearly intended to turn into sexual assault. In short, you won!

Now, let’s take a look at some of the details of your story and discuss a few things that might be helpful to you now and in the future:

1) “The second man started staring at me. I looked away and tried to ignore him”: This is one of those situations that many of us have difficulty with. The question I would ask here is: Did you choose to look like you were ignoring him among other alternatives (like using strong body language, creating a physical barrier, using your voice, etc) because you thought it would work best, or did you choose it because you were worried about embarrassing yourself or hurting his feelings if you choose a more pro-active course of action? The fact is that pretending to ignore someone is a legitimate technique that works some of the time. As it happened here, each time he moved closer and, thereby, tested your boundaries, you were also in a position to test the effectiveness of the technique you were using and perhaps try something else.

2)  “I couldn’t move further over on the bench because another women wearing earphones was sitting there and I didn’t want to bother her“: Since we can now look back and see that having your friend join you was what finally deterred this persistent harasser, we now know something we could only guess back then: waking this Beauty from her slumber, i.e. getting her to remove her earphones and asking her to ally with you, might well have stopped the situation in its tracks. From experience, we can tell you that getting her attention would have been a favor to this young woman, though she might not have appreciated it at the time :-). Her disconnection from the environment sets her up as a prime target for a potential assailant like this one. Perhaps she would have learned the lesson that pretending that nothing is happening around you doesn’t make it so— without having to go through the kind of harassment that you endured here.

3) “I tried to speak to him in the most aggressive voice I could muster but all that came out was: ‘ Stop. Enough. Please, that’s enough.” : First of all, this tactic DID result in him taking his hands off of you and onto himself. So it obviously had some effect. In order increase its effectiveness, there are a couple of things you might consider:

a) If you want to be civilized and say “please”, then you can say “please”. Go right ahead— as long as your tone of voice and body language make it very clear that this is not really a request; it is an order!

b) When issuing an order like this, it helps you to focus and him to comply if you tell him, not just what you want him to STOP doing, but what you want him to do— in this case: “Go away”, “get lost”, “leave me alone”, or anything like that: clear, short and to the point. And be prepared to repeat yourself as many times as it takes for him to understand that he has been caught, his game is over and he might as well go home.

4) “In any case, I know not to wait alone at bus stops if possible— especially not at night.” : Be sure that you learn the right lessons from your experience. There is nothing wrong with your choosing to wait at a bus stop alone at night or at any other time of day. HE was the only one who did anything wrong here. You have the right to be where you wish when you wish. And, as you have demonstrated so well, along with that right goes taking responsibility for your own safety, i.e. paying attention to your environment, listening to your intuition, setting boundaries when you feel you need to, removing yourself from difficult situations when you can and fighting like a tigeress to get away when you can’t. If you do these things, there is no reason to restrict yourself, who you are,what you say, how you dress or where you choose to be. Self-defense training frees us to be who we are, to have our freedom and to stay safe all at the same time.

And one more thing. Be kind and compassionate with yourself. Your nervous system doesn’t care whether or not your struggle became physical; it only knows that it fought a  pitched battle for its survival. The fact that you “won” does not mean that it was not  traumatic.  Talk about what happened. Learn from it. Grow from it.

It may not feel like it right now but yours was a story of self-defense success. We can’t prevent people from acting like idiots. Sometimes we can stop them. In your case, you did more than that; you prevented a physical assault.

We are very, very grateful for whatever part we were able to play in that victory and in your many victories to come.

Child Abuse: We All Pay The Price

In Children on November 21, 2010 at 00:38

The fact that abuse is a serious issue in Israeli society is disturbing enough. However, the level of underreporting of the abuse is appalling.

This is a society that has always prided itself on its independent spirit and on its citizens’ readiness to roll up their sleeves and ‘do the difficult’.

The news brings us more and more stories of murders and attempted murders within families. We are shocked, but how shocked can we be when the friends, relatives and neighbors of these children refuse to step forward and try to stop these tragedies before they occur?

In the end, it is not only these children who pay the price. Abusers are much more likely to abuse their children; victims of violence at home are much more likely to commit acts of violence outside the home. And what does it do to our spirit as a nation when we hear the cries of our children in the night and do nothing?

When we keep silent at  the abuse of our children,  the final blow strikes us all.

Child abuse underreported throughout country
By RUTH EGLASH

Jerusalem Post
November 11, 2010 04/11/2010

Percentage of sexual abuse cases reported are higher in Jerusalem; the 33,751 child abuse cases reported in 2009 “only the tip of the iceberg.”

The percentage of reports of physical and sexual abuse against children in 2009 were much higher in Jerusalem than in other parts of the country, although overall, child abuse remains underreported in every region, a new study published Wednesday by the Haruv Institute shows.

Based on the number of reports filed with the social welfare services in each district nationwide, the Haruv Institute researchers found that reports of sexual abuse in the Jerusalem area made up 25.5 percent of all reports of child abuse in the region, while 47.4% of the reported cases involved physical abuse.

These rates were significantly higher than in other parts of the country, with reports of sexual abuse in the southern region, for example, making up only 12.2% of that region’s abuse reports, and physical abuse cases accounting for 42.4% of the reports in Tel Aviv. However, reports of general neglect among the capital’s children were relatively fewer than in other regions.

In Jerusalem only 27.1% of the reports involved neglect, while in the south it was 53.8%, 45.1% in the North and 41.7% in Tel Aviv. “Neglect” is defined in several ways, including children not attending school, left unsupervised at home or wandering the streets unaccompanied.

Haruv director Prof. Hillel Schmid noted that the actual number of abuse reports in Jerusalem was relatively low compared to other regions. He told The Jerusalem Post that the high percentage of sexual or physical abuse reports in the capital was likely because only the severest or most extreme cases of abuse were reported to the authorities, while lower levels of “neglect” are often not recognized as abuse among the city’s large haredi and Arab populations.

“There seems to be a difference in the legitimization and definition of neglect among haredim and the Arabs as compared to the mainstream society,” said Schmid, a former dean of the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “There is a very different approach by these communities and not every case of neglect is viewed as such.”

However, Schmid was quick to add that overall, cases of child abuse remained underreported in all sectors and regions in the country, despite a law that specifically requires the public to report cases of suspected child abuse or neglect. He said that few people come forward with information and pointed out that the 33,751 cases of child abuse reported to the social welfare services in 2009 were most likely “only the tip of the iceberg.”

The Haruv report also examined child abuse reporting in the US and Canada, noting that neglect cases in the US from 2008 constituted 65% of all reports, physical injury 18% and sexual abuse 10%, while in Canada reports of neglect made up 35%, physical abuse 27% and sexual abuse 3%.

“The higher rates of reported neglect in the US and Canada lead us to believe that North American society has a greater awareness of the need to report such abuse cases than in Israel,” said Schmid.

“The general population here is not enthusiastic about reporting cases of abuse or suspected abuse. People are not only put off by the bureaucracy, where they have to fill out paperwork and give personal information, but in addition, we are a much more violent society than in the past and we either don’t notice the abuse or don’t feel it is important to report.”

He said that along with its research, the Haruv Institute had already started working with family doctors and pediatricians at health funds and hospitals, training them to recognize signs of violence and abuse among children and encouraging cooperation between medical professionals and social workers.

“In many places doctors do not know the social workers and there is little coordination,” said Schmid, adding that many doctors are not familiar with the signs of child abuse.

The Haruv Institute was founded three years ago by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation with the goal of becoming a world center for advanced research in the field of child abuse within the family in Israel.

The institute also works closely with the Welfare and Social Services Ministry and in training all professionals that work with children.

Violence Takes No Holidays

In Crime in Israel on October 1, 2010 at 15:02

The holiday season in Israel has come to a close. But violence never took a holiday. Here are a few poignant examples.

Jerusalem: A Young Man Stabbed and Critically Wounded in an Ultra-Orthodox Neighborhood

Nana
Updated 01:04 01/10/2010
Sagi Shir

A serious injury during the celebration of Simchat Torah: A man of about 20 was stabbed last night (Thursday) in the Ultra- Orthodox Makor Baruch neighborhood in Jerusalem. An MDA team called to the scene evacuated the young man in critical condition to Shaare Zedek Hospital in the city. The background of the event is probably criminal.

The man was stabbed once in the groin; then the attacker fled from the scene towards the Peqi’in Street neighborhood. A Mobile MDA Unit that tried to rescue him was attacked as it reached the neighborhood, delaying the evacuation. Police are searching for the suspect in the stabbing.

This is not the only assault case reported during the days of Succot.

Ashdod police yesterday arrested three minors aged 16 and 17 on suspicion of attacking two minors aged 13 and 14 the evening before for no apparent reason . The minors are patients at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot, one in moderate condition and one in good condition. They reported that they were sitting on a bench in the city when a group of teenagers approached them and began to attack them “for no reason.”

A similar criminal event took place last night in Holon in which  two minors, ages 16 and 17, are suspected of forcing a 12-year-old boy into a vehicle in front of a city garden and driving off. The police managed to seize the two men and rescue the boy, who was not severely injured in the incident.

Another unfortunate case took place on Wednesday, in which two people were killed and three others  injured near a cafe in Qalansawa cafe nearby, apparently after unknown persons opened fire towards a group of people sitting there.

In another incident an 18 year-old was killed by gunfire during a brawl in the Bedouin village Laqia in the Negev.

And here are a few more “holiday season ” headlines from Y-Net:

Suspected: A 16 year-old youth sexually assaulted a 6 year-old boy in Afula.
The youth, who works as a guard at a construction site, is suspected of committing indecent acts on the boy – who lives nearby. The child was taken to a hospital for medical examination.

Murder suspects arrested in Abu Gosh, “More blood will flow”
Four members of the Jaber Clan were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Hassan Othman last month. Police suspect that the murder was ‘blood revenge’ for the murder of a boy from the Jaber Family. The village fears more bloodshed.

Father Murders Mother and Says “I’ll Kill Myself”.
“We wanted to save Mom, explained the children of Munib Zhong and A. Ibrahim from Smi, a village in the Western Galilee, who witnessed the horror… The husband climbed up the ladder to the balcony – and stabbed his wife to death

Suspicion: A man stabbed after causing a child to drop his hot dog (Rishon L’Zion)

Suspected: Cop convicted of sexual harassment sexually assaulted female drivers
A Special Patrol officer (a resident of Kiryat Malachi) dismissed from his post following his conviction for harassing a female soldier, was arrested on suspicion of attacking women who were driving alone, signaling them to stop because of disrepair and attempting to sexually assault them.

Mother threw her two children from the 4th floor and jumped. They survived. (Tel-Aviv)

Four year-old injured from shots fired at a house in Tira

14 Year-Old Complains: My husband attacked me even though I was pregnant
Husband suspected of assaulting the young wife on numerous occasions, in addition to suspected statutory rape.

Indictment: Bnei Brak Resident Serving in the 8200 Elite Computer Unit held in sexual harassment of young girl

Caretakers sexually abused mentally-ill patients
Adi Revach and Orly Wanda from Pardes  Hannah are accused of causing inmates to commit a series of serious sex offenses,

Man suspected of raping an 11 year-old girl in the succah that stood at the Tomb of Rabbi Meir in Tiberias

16 year-old admitted that he murdered 14-year-old  over a cigarette (Beersheba)

Beersheba murder: A boy of 15 stabbed to death in a fight

Guess it’s time to get back to work…

Why The IDF Must Fight Sexual Harassment

In Sexual Harrassment on June 16, 2010 at 00:52

The Two-Front War----Sexual Harassment in the IDF

OK. We Israelis are used to being harrassed by pretty much every nation in the world.  We’re even used to our Army, one of the most upstanding and moral in the world, being trashed— even, or perhaps, especially, by leaders of nations with atrocious human rights records.

But IDF brothers-in-arms sexually harassing their sisters-in-arms? No, we must never, NEVER make peace with that.  Read the article below. Sexual harrassment complaints in the IDF are at an all-time high, but fewer than half of female soldiers who report being harrassed are willing to file formal complaints.

The fact that the number of complaints is way, way up,  is not all bad. This certainly indicates increased awareness,  but let’s not jump to the conclusion that increased incidence has nothing to do with it. With numbers like these, it almost certainly does.

Moreover, read between the lines and you will see that the way these incidents are being dealt with still leaves a lot to be desired. Female soldiers who report incidents  clearly feel they are putting themselves in harm’s way. On paper, the system encourages reporting and treats sexual harrassment as a criminal offense. But behind the scenes, the system and the female soldiers who serve it share a common agenda. Like the parents in the Bill Cosby comedy routine, they are not so much interested in justice as they are in quiet.

There is a way to get both “quiet” and “justice”. It is called PREVENTION.  And I’m not talking about scolding and lecturing male soldiers, as if scolding 18 year-old boys gets them to change their behavior. I have one at home; I know all about it. And I’m not talking about handing Tear Gas spray out to female soldiers as if it were hairspray. (Tell me, Generals, what other weapons do you have in your arsenal that you hand out to soldiers with no training and no hand-to-hand backup plan? )

Bottom Line: Why aren’t these women receiving empowerment-based self-defense training?

What makes the IDF so special is that it is us. It is a reflection of our society. Can you imagine what kind of society we could foster if we invested in the thousands of young men and women going through compulsary military service so, when they re-enter civilian life, they already know that women will not tolerate sexual harassment? That they will stand up for themselves and call the perpetrators to account for it?

Look at the statistics about working women in Israel. 50% report being sexually harassed in the workplace. 50%!!!! And do you know where most of those women were just before they entered the workforce? That’s right. They were in the military.

How many stories like those below might have turned out differently if these women learned Awareness, Avoidance, Assertiveness, Physical Defense and Recovery skills as part of their Military Service? Two-years of service and they can’t squeeze in 10-hour for a Basic Empowerment-based Self-Defense Course? Come on…

I wrote to Chairman of the Knesset Committee for the Promotion of Women’s Status  Tzipi Hotovely MK (Likud) some time ago asking for a chance to speak with her about this issue. Good thing I didn’t hold my breath waiting to hear back from her.

For her part in the proceedings, MK Hotovely said: “Unfortunately, harassment has not left the world and some men feel entitled. Maybe we should think about an alternative softer track, that will enable us to work around the psychological constraints involved in serving a complaint.”

MK Hotovely, you may be right. Perhaps a “decriminalized” procedure would help. On the other hand, how about removing some of those ‘psychological constaints’ by empowering these women BEFORE incidents occur so they can STOP them? Give them the tools they need to stand up for themselves and for each other! I would expect that you, of all of our nation’s legislators, would be on the frontlines fighting for just that.

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Major Increase in Complaints of Sexual Harassment in the IDF

A day of consciousness-raising came to the Knesset: Data presented by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, indicated that over the last two years the number of complaints rose by tens of percentage points . The Immigrant Absorption Committee heard sad stories of immigrant women: “The manager harassed me – and I was dependent on him”

Yael Bernovsky
YNET
June 8, 2010

Translated by Yours Truly

Today, the Knesset held a special day to increase awareness of sexual harassment, and all the committees held hearings on the subject. This came after yesterday’s report on Ynet revealing alarming data, according to which nearly half of working women experience sexual harassment in their workplaces. Additional data published today, indicated that the scope of the phenomenon in the IDF has risen sharply.

According to the data presented by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the Israel Defense Forces in 2009 reported 445 complaints of sexual harassment, compared to 363 in 2008 and 318 in 2007. Most of the reported incidents occurred in the bases, and most involved physical harassment. About 28 percent involved verbal harassment and 13 percent voyeurism. Three-percent of the percentage involved rape or attempted rape. Another one percent of the complaints involved consensual sexual relations.

IDF officials explained that there are two options for dealing with complaints – either an officer checks out the allegations or the Military Police are called in for a criminal investigation. Only 47 percent of female soldiers who complained in 2009 chose to contact the Military Police. Another 12 percent of female soldiers sought help within their units.

According to Brigadier General Gila Kalifi, Women’s Affairs advisor to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, in 2009 only one false complaint of sexual harassment was discovered. However, she said that “we do not only see the need to commit ourselves to dealing with those who claim sexualharassment. We are also committed that, until proven guilty, the person against whom a complaint is made must be considered innocent.”

“We have already learned that it is important to ask the IDF, not only about military intelligence but, there are more questions to ask, about sexual assault, about suicide… Social issues,” concluded Committee Chairman MK Tzachi Hanegbi. “are part of the experience of life of this organization that must undergo parliamentary supervision. Everyone goes away with the feeling that, on the one hand, there is much to praise in the system, but there is a problem. I hope it is being kept in mind by the IDF, our country’s largest organization, that there must be a greater sense of confidence and understanding that the system will protect those submitting complaints. ”

Former Defense Minister Knesset Member Amir Peretz (Labor) added that “our expectation from the IDF is they will become one of the most important models for other workplaces to emulate . Israeli society makes judgments about women who file these kind of complaints. When the this same soldier must return to the same community where she lives, there are serious concerns about this. They must proceed with caution, but they also must develop more tools that allow these matters to be dealt with without placing the woman on the frontlines of the war. Even if the soldier has chosen treatment futher down in the hierarchy, the matter must go higher up in the hierarchy in order to maximize the punishment. The Army must provide security for female soldiers, that no one in the hierarchy, no matter what his rank, has too much authority. ”

“Didn’t they teach you in Ethiopia not say “no” to a man?”

The Absorption Committee headed by MK Lia Shemtov held a discussion of sexual harassment in the workplace that included presentations by women victimized by the phenomenon.

One of them, an economist that came from Ukraine a few years ago and still learning the language, said that she managed to get work in a clothing warehouse as a folder. “I had to leave work even though it suited me. The reason: my manager’s behavior. For a period of two months, he harassed me, took advantage of his authority, because I was financially dependent on the work. He also attempted to rape me and commit indecent acts. I went to the Rape Crisis Center. I did not want people to know – and this is one of the reasons that I did not go to the police. I’m really depressed because of what happened. ”

Another woman, a 24 year-old Amharic-speaker, went to  the Rape Crisis Center to accompany a friend. She talked about things she was accustomed to living with: “I was out of work and my neighbors were looking for a babysitter. It started with words: “I’m used to white Israelis.”, ” Didn’t you learn in Ethiopia not say ‘no’ to a man?’,’Your chest is the color of mocha’.

The neighbor started to harass me, push himself against me while talking to me. After a month, I left my job. ”

Michal Rosen, the CEO of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers, mentioned that the bill for providing compensation for victims of sexual assault drafted by a interdepartmental committee last year and presented to the Welfare Department (details published in Ynet) “still lies in the hands of the Minister. Nothing has been done about it. ”

MK Marina Solodkin concluded: “the former President (Translator’s note: Former President Moshe Katsav whose trial for rape and sexual harassment is being held in extreme secrecy) was a master of sexual harassment. This procedure is very important and it will set a precedent if the judge convicts him. I am optimistic”.

Life in “da Hood”

In women on May 24, 2010 at 01:51

We in Israel live in a tough neighborhood. While it is important that we look our society’s challenges straight in the eye, it is also important that we see them in context. The fact that we hear about the problems in our Western-style democracy does not mean that we have more problems than the more closed societies around us. It only means that, for better and worse, we are willing to discuss them in public.

Here are two stories from the Jerusalem Post about neighboring societies dealing with issues we rarely see discussed aloud. We can all applaud the courage and chutzpah of the ‘not-going-to-take-it-anymore’ woman in Saudi Arabia who struck back at the Virtue Police. We can all feel the horror and pain of the girls and young women in Gaza who are being sexually assaulted by family members. But only if we can avoid politicization of these events.

A word to the author and the interviewee in the second article: The fight against those raise their hands against their own flesh and blood is eveyyone’s fight. However, when reporting becomes blaming and sloganeering, Mr. GHRAIEB and Dr. Qara, the forces of Good are divided against themselves. Stop blaming “The Siege” for making perpetrators act on their vilest impulses, so all of us can work together to empower people with the tools they need—psychological, emotional and physical— to fight back against violence directed against them.

Saudi woman beats up virtue cop
By BENJAMIN JOFFE-WALT / THE MEDIA LINE

Incident follows a wave of challenges to religious authorities.

It was a scene Saudi women’s rights activists have dreamt of for years.

When a Saudi religious policeman sauntered about an amusement park in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Al-Mubarraz looking for unmarried couples illegally socializing, he probably wasn’t expecting much opposition.

But when he approached a young, 20-something couple meandering through the park together, he received an unprecedented whooping.

A member of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the Saudi religious police known locally as the Hai’a, asked the couple to confirm their identities and relationship to one another, as it is a crime in Saudi Arabia for unmarried men and women to mix.

For unknown reasons, the young man collapsed upon being questioned by the cop.

According to the Saudi daily Okaz, the woman then allegedly laid into the religious policeman, punching him repeatedly, and leaving him to be taken to the hospital with bruises across his body and face.

“To see resistance from a woman means a lot,” Wajiha Al-Huwaidar, a Saudi women’s rights activist, told The Media Line news agency. “People are fed up with these religious police, and now they have to pay the price for the humiliation they put people through for years and years. This is just the beginning and there will be more resistance.”

“The media and the Internet have given people a lot of power and the freedom to express their anger,” she said. “The Hai’a are like a militia, but now whenever they do something it’s all over the Internet. This gives them a horrible reputation and gives people power to react.”

Neither the religious police nor the Eastern Province police has made a statement on the incident, and both the names of the couple and the date of the incident have not been made public, but on Monday the incident was all over the Saudi media.

Should the woman be charged, she could face a lengthy prison term and lashings for assaulting a representative of a government institution.

Saudi law does not permit women to be in public spaces without a male guardian. Women are not allowed to drive, inherit, divorce or gain custody of children, and cannot socialize with unrelated men.

Officers of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice are tasked with enforcing such laws, but it hasn’t been an easy year for Saudi Arabia’s religious police.

The decision last year by Saudi King Abdullah to open the kingdom’s first co-educational institution, with no religious police on campus, led to a national crises for Saudi Arabia’s conservative religious authorities, with the new university becoming a cultural proxy war for whether or not women and men should be allowed to mix publicly.

A senior Saudi cleric publicly criticized the gender mixing at the university and was summarily fired by the king.

That was followed in December by a surprise announcement from Sheikh Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, head of the Saudi religious police commission in Mecca, who published an article against gender segregation, leading to threats on his life and rumors that he had been or would be fired.

Meanwhile, the Saudi government has gone to great efforts recently to improve the image of the religious police, most notably by firing the national director of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice earlier this year. The new director Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Humain then announced a series of training programs and a special unit to handle complaints against the religious police.

Last month, however, members of the religious police in the northern province of Tabuk were charged with assaulting a young woman as she attempted to visit her son, in a move that marked an unprecedented challenge to the religious police’s authority.

“There is some sort of change taking place,” Nadya Khalife, the Middle East women’s rights researcher for Human Rights Watch, told The Media Line. “There is clearly a shifting mentality regarding to the male guardianship law and similar issues. More women are speaking out, there are changes within the government, there is a mixed university, the king was photographed with women, they want to allow women to work in the courts and there are changes within the justice ministry. So you can witness some kind of change unfolding but it’s not quite clear what’s happening and it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight.”

The Nakba ("Catastrophe") many Gazan girls & women are facing is sexual abuse at the hands of male relatives

May 20, 110 Thursday 15 Sivan 3870 23:48 IST

Photo by: AP
Cases of sexual assault by relatives surfacing in Gaza
By OMER GHRAIEB / THE MEDIA LINE
20/05/2010
Psychologist suggests unemployment, boredom, oppression and life under siege contribute to drug use and depravity in Strip.

Eighteen-year-old E.S. hides in the corner of her dark room, fearing the approach of a family member coming to prey on her flesh again. The nervous girl with deep green eyes and golden locks makes several grueling attempts at speech, eventually letting out in screams that she was being raped by her relatives, finally leading her to isolation.

S.G. is another such case. She is 25 years old, with blue eyes and short black hair. Even the manner in which she sits reflects her suffering. She, too, fell prey to her father when he attacked her, trying to steal her virginity.

The stories of E.S. and S.G. indicate a growing phenomenon in the Gaza Strip, in which many girls find themselves trapped by their parents, brothers and relatives.

Staring around her in a state of panic, E.S. whispers that she has been sexually assaulted by her father since age four, right in front of her mother.

“I was not aware of what he was doing,” she told The Media Line. “When I reached to the stage of perception, only then I realized that what he is doing is totally forbidden,” she continued.

Her voice then drifted and tears started flowing down her cheeks.

“I went to my mother to complain about it, but she did nothing,” E.S. continued. “She was afraid of being fired by my father or divorced, so she threatened me not to say a word to anyone.”

E.S. then turned to her only uncle, hoping that perhaps he would be able to help.

“When I recounted [to] my uncle what happened to me his eyes shone, and I was hit by a state of shock when I was asked to commit outrageous sexual acts with him,” E.S. explained after insisting that she be allowed to finish telling her story.

Her uncle said he would prevent her from leaving the house until she complied, E.S. said.

She has attempted to commit suicide several times throughout her young life, but found herself unable to go through with it at the last moment.

“I was aware of the punishment that awaits me in the hereafter, so I was reluctant, and wished for ‘Prince Charming’ to come on his white horse and save me from this mire of wolves [and enable me] to live my life somewhat in a normal way,” she explained.

One of the most horrific cases of family rape is that of S.G., who strongly objected to speaking at first, but later agreed on condition of anonymity.

“In the beginning, my father was stalking me and watching my movements, taking advantage of the absence of all my family members from the house,” she explained.

During her father’s first attempt, only foreplay was involved, making S.G. think that it was a show of love and tenderness, just like any other parents would do with their daughters.

“When he went too far, crossing every red line, I tried to stop him, but he refused. I started screaming, [thinking] perhaps someone will hear my voice and answer me, but he quickly put his hand on my mouth and said: ‘I have the right to use you more than any stranger,'” S.G. continued, disgust taking over her face.

“After finishing his unforgivable crime, he threatened to kill me if I disclosed the secret. I had to agree, believing that he would not repeat it again,” she continued.

But some days later he tried again to assault her, so she told her mother and brother. Her mother was shocked and lost consciousness, while her brother confronted his father. The father justified his crime by saying it was his right to use his own daughter. So the young son told the police, leading to his father’s imprisonment.

One of the S.G.’s relatives heard her story by accident, and decided to marry S.G. to preserve her dignity. When her father came out of prison, the husband wanted to open a new page by asking his wife to go visit her father because after all, he would always be her father. According to S.G., at the end of the visit her father prevented her from leaving and threw her husband out of the house.

“She is my daughter and I deserve to use her more than you, so I will rape her!” the father screamed.

This made her husband go mad, but in the end he managed to save her from her father’s brutality and bring her home safe – albeit traumatized.

The sad story continued with S.G.’s younger sister, who was also tormented by their father. In a particularly harsh move, the girls’ brother finally murdered their father to save his younger sisters from the teeth of this beast, causing a crisis in the family.

Meeting with psychologist Zahia Qara at Gaza’s mental health center, S.G. confirmed that although it may shift sands to talk about them, cases of incest, adultery and rape do occur in the Gazan community. She added that the number of victims coming to the center for this reason was, in fact, increasing.

“In order to help him or her feel strong and be able to overcome the problem,” said Qara, the center provides psychological treatment through allowing the victim to talk about the tragedy.

The center also teaches victims how to defend themselves by confronting and threatening the aggressor and utilizing the sources of power available to them.

“Psychotherapy reduces the psychosocial risks of the situation, but it does not eliminate it or get rid of it 100 percent, because the aggressor does not stop after one time, but repeats his repulsive actions several times, leaving a bad effect on the psychological status of the victim,” explained Qara.

Qara indicated that victims who fall prey to their family usually have vulnerable and immature personalities; they are fearful, shy and introverted; and they are unable to confront the situation and set borders between themselves and others.

She added that most victims who have turned to the center have complained to their mothers but nevertheless they were left defenseless.

Qara pointed out that many reports are showing that drug consumption has increased drastically among Gazans, and that drugs like “tramal” (medically known as tramadol) have become very accessible and cheap. Not all pharmacies ask for a prescription before handing over such drugs, some of which are known to be sexual stimulants.

Qara believes that the siege, bad living conditions in Gaza, unemployment, oppression and lack of activities to fill youths’ free time are all motivations behind Gazans’ reckless recourse to drugs and sex.

To fight this, said Qara, people must spread awareness, give youth activities to keep them busy, decrease unemployment rates, put pharmacies and drug use under surveillance and lift the siege on Gaza for a better life.

A Little Bit Crazy

In self-defense on May 14, 2010 at 01:42

Thumbs up for those who are 'pro-force', if that's what it takes to stop violence

I had such a great time yesterday, it was worth every second. Well, maybe I would have skipped the particular second that I tried to stop a knife attack with my pinkie and ended up with a broken hand, but other than that…

Yesterday morning, my student and colleague, Naomi Yitzhak and I drove to Maaleh Adumim, a small city near Jerusalem, to join a group of  travelers from abroad who are here to train in IKI Krav Maga with Moshe Katz.

Moshe Katz was one of the first martial artists I met in Israel.  We have been friends and colleagues ever since. He is one of the most knowledgeable, dedicated and generous instructors I have ever met.

Like a true “artist”, Moshe starved in obscurity for many years. Then, a couple of years ago, Moshe was finally “discovered”  by members of the international martial arts community. He travels all over Europe and the United States teaching seminars. Now he has started hosting seminars here in Israel as well to give students of Krav Maga the opportunity to experience the Land and People that produced this in-your-face form of self-defense training.

The men with whom Naomi and I trained came to Israel expressly to train with Moshe—or more correctly, to Tour & Train with him: Craig Grey from Grand Rapids, MI, Tim Hillis from Cottonwood, Arizona, Fred Heins from Tilburg, Holland, Stephan Shutter from Germany, Robert Amos from Indiana and Justin and Gary, two of Robert’s students.

We worked on all kinds of knife and gun defenses including defenses inside a car based on the same simple, straight-forward and effective principles. There is something so rewarding about taking these nightmare scenarios, analyzing them and finding ways to deal with them, fusing the mind and the body to make the ‘impossible’ possible. And when you are lucky enough to do that together with people of this caliber, generous, humble and dedicated, it is a truly spiritual experience.

Those of you who read this and think, ‘this woman is crazy’ are in good company. I could intellectualize and argue that, in the world of self-defense, as the song says: “We’re never gonna survive unless we get a little crazy”.

But those of you who need no explanation, who identify with the high of this kind of body-mind-spirit learning and growth, painful though it may sometimes be, you probably identify, as i do, with these sentiments from the same song: “In a world full of people, only some want to fly. Isn’t that crazy?”

* * *

This  story is a keeper. It is not from Israel, but from the US . It is about five “crazy” women who prevented a murder and put the potential murderer in jail. May there be many more crazies like these both here in Israel and around the world!


Wed May 5, 2010 9:29 PM EDT

Comcast.net News

Five women stop man accused of Maine campus stabbing

BANGOR, Maine — Five female students, including one who’d recently completed a self-defense class, jumped to the aid of a fellow student, grabbing her knife-wielding attacker and holding him until police officers arrived at Husson University, officials said Wednesday.

Jesse Hladik put her new skills to work when she lunged for the hand holding a knife, while fellow students grabbed the man’s other limbs and wrestled him to the ground. Hladik, 21, of Buckfield, said she knew the pressure points to make him drop the knife, thanks to the class.

“It was really scary, but I’m glad we got involved,” said student Heather Mann, 18, of Rochester, N.H. “Because I really think he would have killed her.”

Officers responding to the report of a domestic fight at 7:40 a.m. arrived to find 45-year-old Horst Wolk of Bangor subdued on the pavement. A campus officer cuffed him, and city police hauled him away.

John Michaud, professor of legal studies, heard the commotion and saw a pile of people on the pavement, while more women stood by, ready to jump in, if necessary.

“I was very impressed by the students,” Michaud said. “How many times do you hear about people walking by incidents like this? These young ladies weren’t going to walk by this incident.” He said the young women disarmed the suspect and “had the situation well in hand.”

Wolk has been charged with attempted murder, elevated aggravated assault, aggravated assault and violating a protection order, said Bangor Police Sgt. Paul Edwards. He remained jailed Wednesday afternoon on $25,000 bail. There was no indication whether he had an attorney.

The incident unfolded in a parking lot next to Husson’s O’Donnell Commons. Wolk, who isn’t a student, rammed the victim’s vehicle after she pulled into a parking space at 7:40 a.m., then jumped out of his vehicle with a knife in his hand, said Julie Green, Husson spokeswoman.

The injured woman, who was not identified, was treated at a local hospital and released.

Edwards said officers generally don’t want bystanders to put themselves in harm’s way.

“We would never recommend getting involved to the point where you might get hurt yourself and become a second victim. But am I proud of what they did? Of course I am. Am I glad they did it? Yeah. I’m happy because the outcome was good,” Edwards said.

Hladik said she realized the importance of self defense.

“Not that the situation is going to happen again here, but it is so much better to know what I was doing, to make a little plan in a couple of seconds before doing something because I can’t imagine being one of the girls without training and not knowing what to do,” she said.

“I think that is bravery because they had never fought … they had no idea what to do and they still stepped in.”