Posts Tagged ‘teens’

Her Wits & Her Cell Phone About Her

In self-defense on May 9, 2010 at 16:56

I have a love-hate relationship with my cellphone. I love having the whole world at my fingertips whenever and wherever I may be. But, I don’t like being at the whole world’s beck and call. And I’m not alone.

Our general ambivilence about our cell phones is reflected in the self-defense world. On the one hand, people who are up to no good need three things going for them before they can successfully carry out their nasty deeds: intention, ability and opportunity. For the vast majority of them, isolating their target is part of creating  opportunity. Cell phones break isolation, giving potential victims a connection to the world outside, a chance to get someone’s attention or call for help. No isolation, no opportunity, creep moves on to a more vulnerable victim.

For a wonderful example of the use of a cell phone as a tool of self-defense, see the success story below in which a 16 year-old Beersheva girl outwits her three captors by saying she has to call her mother…  A great Mother’s Day tribute.

On the other hand, you probably don’t need me to tell you that cell phones can be a real safety hazard— and not just for drivers.  According to a study of pedestrian safety at the University of Illinois published this past November, using a cell phone while walking can be hazardous to your health. Compared with people just listening to music as they crossed, users of hands-free cell phones took longer to cross the same street under the same conditions and were more likely to get run over by a vehicle.

Personally, I think the cell phone is one of the best tools of self-defense ever devised. Unfortunately, it seem that good always comes with a price tag attached. Chocolate has calories; weekends have Monday (or Sunday if you live in Israel). Your cell phone can connect you to the world, or soak up so much of your attention, you become more vulnerable becuase of it. It can be a source of increased safety or increased danger. It’s  a matter of maximizing your awareness and deciding how to use the tools you have. Which reminds me: don’t forget that striking someone straight on with a cell phone to the nose, the solar plexus or the groin can get your message across with no additional air time charges and without even calling your Mom.

Beersheba: ‘3 Arabs tried to kidnap, sexually assault girl’



Police in Beersheba arrested three Israeli Arabs on Thursday on suspicion of attempting to kidnap and sexually assault a 16-year-old girl.

According to suspicions, the suspects noticed the girl walking and offered her a ride to her friend’s house. The girl apparently entered the vehicle, but soon learned that the suspects had no intention of letting her out unless “she agreed to their sexual demands,” police said.

The suspects allegedly confiscated the girl’s phone to prevent her from calling for assistance.

“Keeping her wits about her, the girl told her captors that she wanted to phoned her mother to let her know she would be late. The suspects gave her the phone, and the girl proceeded to immediately contact police,” Negev police added.

The suspects became alarmed by the call and in the confusion, the girl escaped from the vehicle. The suspects fled the scene in the vehicle.

Police in the meantime deployed large numbers of patrol cars to the area, and located the vehicle containing the suspects, and the girl walking along a main road.

The Wolf Guarding The Chickens

In Sexual Assault on May 2, 2010 at 13:27
How did a convicted murderer-pedophile end up as a guard for a suicidal 14 year old girl?

That is the question being asked by a good portion of Israeli society since this story broke last week. It’s important to understand two background points about this story:

1) The role of security guard is taken very seriously in this society. Many Israeli security guards have sacrificed their lives by exposing and blocking suspected terrorists from entering restaurants, malls and schools to protect the people they are charged with protecting.

2) The law in Israel about hiring security personnel as well as anyone who works with kids is crystal-clear: Before being hired, everyone has to present a printout obtained from the police department certifying that s/he has never been convicted of a crime that might indicate a history of violence or sexual offenses.

All of which only begs the question: How could a charity like Matav have made such a serious mistake? Was it pure, unadulterated neglect or did someone decide that s/he was wiser than the law? Was it was simply too inconvenient to take the steps that could have prevented this outrage?Whose time and attention was worth more than the health and well-being of a fragile 14 year-old girl?

In the end, it is she, her family and our entire society that pays the price for a crime of negligence like this.

So perhaps, while we are out pointing fingers , we should take a good look at ourselves:
  • How often do we play with the boundaries of the law: drive too fast, fail to buckle a child into a stroller or car seat, leave the scene of a scrape or fender-bender because its too small to deal with or too inconvenient?
  • How often do we ignore our sense that something is not right, that still, small voice of warning we get when entering certain situations because we feel others will not respect us, or it seems harmless or it would be inconvenient to make other plans?

The choices we make have consequences. Sometimes we pay a high price for those “little things” we decide to let slide. And sometimes, others end up paying the price for us.

Pedophile-killer ‘molested suicidal girl’ in hospital

Jerusalem Post

Director of charity that hired man to work as guard questioned on suspicion of employing convicted felon to protect minors.

A 70-year-old man from Herzliya who was convicted and served a lengthy prison term for murdering his former wife and raping minors was arrested at the Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba on Thursday after allegedly molesting a 14-year-old suicidal girl whom he was employed to guard.

The suspect, Yosef Nunu, was hired by the Matav charity to work as a security guard. The charity’s director was questioned by police under suspicion of employing a convicted felon to protect minors in violation of the law.

Nunu served 24 years in prison for murder, molesting minors, raping young girls, and molesting family members. He was released after receiving a presidential pardon.

Nunu was tasked with securing a girl who had been hospitalized after attempting to take her own life.

The incident has caused national outrage, and police have stressed that the law calls for any agency which employs people who work around children to ensure that the employee produces a certificate from police stating that he or she has no previous convictions.

According to suspicions, Nunu began molesting and touching the girl while she lay in her hospital bed. He was seen by doctors hovering over the girl. The doctors became alarmed at his actions and immediately called police.

During police questioning, Nunu denied the suspicions, saying he merely “wanted to cheer her up” by giving her “a massage and a kiss to the forehead.”

The Kfar Saba Magistrate’s Court extended Nunu’s custody by five days, and described the suspect as a danger to those around him.

Same Facts, Different Story

In self-defense on March 5, 2010 at 12:41

Editors chose a photo of a women hiding her face to illustrate a self-defense success

The pic that YNET chose to illustrate this story

A young women fighting back

This is the pic I would have chosen

God bless YNET for their ongoing coverage of local stories in both Hebrew and English. Really.

But, take one look at the picture they selected to illustrate the story below and, what do you see? A women shamed and beaten down. Read the headline and you are filled with fear and dread. Is that really what this story is about?

Very few readers will bother to read all the way through this story. If they did, perhaps they would see what I see: an incredibly brave young woman who fought like a lioness with her body, her voice and finally, her teeth for her life and her dignity. A self-defense success story in the truest sense.

The fact that there are predators in the Human Jungle should come as no surprise. What is really important, and rarely reported as such, is that there are also lions and lionesses who are ready and prepared to stand up against them and defeat them like this young woman did. She is a heroine. And yet, the news media, reflecting back society’s own prejudices, chose to illustrate her as a helpless victim and glossed over her victorious battle by choosing to emphasize that it was the presence of by-passers, not her all-out refusal to become a victim, that drove off her attacker.

And if that was not frustrating enough, how about the fact that this was a stranger attack in which the guy actually jumped out from behind the bushes?Do you have any idea how many times I have reminded  self-defense students that 82% of attackers are known to their victims, and that the chances of a stranger jumping out from behind the bushes is nil?

Well, either I can say so much for statistics… Or I can use them to say that, assuming the Lod Police ever find this guy, there is a good chance that the stranger behind the bushes isn’t so strange to his intended victim after all.

Either way, we can be sure of one thing. This guy will look like he has been in one hell of a fight…and will have the teethmarks to prove it,thanks to one courageous young woman.

Unknown Assailant Attempted To Rape a 16-year-old in Lod and Fled

Police began searching for the suspect who attacked the girl in the Ganei Yaar neighborhood. Passersby heard her screams and managed to drive him off.
Eli Senor
YNET March, 5, 2010
An attempted rape under the cover of darkness.
Last night (Thursday), an anonymous man attacked a girl of 16 in the Ganei Yaar section of Lod and tried to rape her. Passersby heard the screams and drove the suspect off. He managed to escape. Police began searching for him.
The girl came to the city police station accompanied by her father. Her blouse was soaked with blood and her body showed signs of trauma. Details of the investigation indicate that the young woman was passing through a dark path, when an unknown assailant suddenly leaped from between the bushes and attacked her. A physical struggle ensued between the two, culminating when the girl bit the suspect and began to cry out for help.
When the suspect noticed passersby, he left the girl and fled for his life. Police officers from the Lod Police Station came to the scene and conducted searched, but have failed so far to locate the man.

The Sound of Silence

In Violence in Israeli Society on March 4, 2010 at 20:53

Meditation promotes inner silence

There is silence... and silence.

Silence has been given a bad rap.

Silence is meant to be “broken”. “Keeping silent” evokes suspicion, maintaining your “right to silence”, a sure sign of guilt.

The story  below is the the second recent headliner here in Israel about a young girl/woman caught in a web of sexual abuse by a group of teens as young as 13. Stories like these reinforce our belief in the menace of silence .

However, after spending a week in silence on a meditation retreat (see Fear of Nothing), I now understand that it is “noise” , not “silence” that is the true threat.

It was not “silence” that birthed the years of suffering this young teen endured; it was noise— noise from society about what it is to be a man or a woman, about love,  about sacrifice, media images that confuse sex with love and violence with sex, inner static about her own lack of worth plus whatever lies, promises and threats the boys themselves used to break her mentally and emotionally before they violated her physically. As we say in IMPACT self-defense when the attacker begins his mixed litany of demands, appeals and threats:  “Blah-blah-blah”. It’s  all noise.

In contrast, when we gently clear away the noise and turn down the static, the resulting silence leaves space for inner wisdom to emerge. It gives us a chance to examine the things we tell ourselves and the things we allow ourselves to absorb from others. It makes it possible for us to see that underneath the noise, we are more than our thoughts, more than our fears, more than our dreams.

The silence that emerges from terrible stories like these must, indeed, be broken. However, if we are to prevent young women from falling prey to the noise that substitutes for their own sense of hope, faith and worth, we need to help them turn down the noise in their lives so they can encounter themselves and learn to accept themselves with the love and compassion they deserve. That we all deserve.

State indicts 13 teens for sexual abuse

Jerusalem Post

March 4, 2010 Thursday


15 separate criminal charges filed in assault of high school girl.

As the 13 teenage suspects sat hunched over on courtroom benches and covered their heads and faces with sweatshirt hoods on Wednesday, the state filed an indictment against them that included 15 separate criminal charges.

The indictment was filed in Tel Aviv District Court.

There was a chilling contrast between the dry wording of the charges, drafted by attorneys Livnat Melamed and Lilach Shalom of the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office (Criminal), and the actions they described.

Regarding the first charge, the prosecutors wrote, “On various occasions, the exact time of which are unknown to the prosecutor, during the period relevant to the indictment, the first defendant routinely brought the complainant to various meeting places. Before that, he would coordinate with the other defendants and others, who would come to the various meeting places with the intent of committing rape, sodomy and indecent acts, all of which were committed without her freely given consent, by exploiting her emotional dependency on the first defendant.”

The first defendant, the so-called boyfriend of “Aleph Aleph,” the victim, was included in 14 of the charges in the indictment. They included 10 counts of rape in aggravated circumstances, four counts of sodomy, four counts of indecent assault, two counts of assault and one count each of attempted rape in aggravated circumstances, being in possession of pornography, and abuse.

According to the indictment, Aleph Aleph and the first defendant first met at school around the beginning of 2006. They were a couple for a while but then broke up and remained friends. At the beginning of 2007 (the beginning of the “relevant period,” which lasted until January 2010), Aleph Aleph told the first defendant that she loved him and that she was dependent on and had very strong feelings for him. She told him she would do anything he wanted as long as he stayed with her. If he left her, she would kill herself.

“In the relevant period,” the indictment continued, “because of her emotional dependence on the first defendant, he abused her by frequently assaulting her illegally by using his hands and feet. He called her names, cursed her, and insulted her in public. He was able to do this by taking advantage of her dependency and love. The other defendants knew about this behavior and in some cases witnessed it.”

The first defendant began inviting friends to rape Aleph Aleph, according to the indictment. In most of the cases, several youths raped her one at a time while the others looked on.

“The defendants knew, and were present, when the first defendant attacked the complainant, either when she asked to stop having sex with one or another of the defendants, or, frequently, in and out of school. The defendants also knew about, and were even present at, incidents in which the first defendant abused Aleph Aleph. They also knew that she was afraid of him and afraid to refuse to have intimate meetings with them for fear that the first defendant would cut off ties with her,” the indictment stated.

One of the lawyers in the case, Asher Chen, told The Jerusalem Post that he was representing one of the defendants who was only being charged on one count, and that his client had witnessed a rape but not taken part in it. He said his client had known Aleph Aleph for only two months and had met her after she’d left the school she and the first defendant had attended together.

Attorney Avi Hilmi told the Post he was representing a client charged with two counts of sodomy and one count of rape in aggravated circumstances.

Hilmi added that several of the defendants had only known Aleph Aleph for a short time. However, several others apparently knew the complainant from the beginning of the “relevant period.” One of them was charged with 12 sexual violations and another with 10.

In one case, the first defendant was charged with the attempted rape of Aleph Aleph’s best friend, identified in the indictment as “Bet Bet.” The charge also included sodomy and committing an indecent act. He was also accused of taking a total of NIS 2,000 to NIS 3,000 from Aleph Aleph, as well as her cellular phone, which he used to make calls at her expense. In another charge, he was accused of being in possession of pedophilic photographs.

At the Crossroads of Jerusalem

In teens on December 11, 2009 at 03:18

My personal assignment in honor of the Circle of Strength’s Volunteer Day was to give an hour-and-a-half self-defense class just off Zion Square at a drop-in center called Crossroads.

Crossroads is a center that serves a subculture of vulnerable teens that have been sidelined.  While many organizations have been established to meet the needs of at-risk teens, one such population is consistently under-served:  the hundreds of Jerusalem’s English-speaking at-risk youth. Poor, isolated and on the streets, they are, nonetheless, stereotyped as being “Affluent Americans” and are, therefore, estranged from the usual governmental rehabilitative frameworks. See the article below for a look into some other problems in the existing youth treatment system.

Any way, The Crossroads Center, established in 2001, is the only organization actively helping Anglo teens find their way through information and referral, recreational activities to keep them away from trouble and danger, psychological care and counseling.

And speaking of finding one’s way, parking in downtown Jerusalem was never easy but what a nightmare the the endless construction on Jerusalem’s infamous light rail has created! Miracle of miracles, I found my way to a parking garage. I walked through Yoel Saloman Street carrying my trusty striking pads, crossed over Jaffa Street, found HaHavatzelet 2 and climbed the three floors to the Center. My assistant, Tova, met me on the stairs.

Our class began with a group of about seven teens, mostly boys, who starting out  sulking because the social workers turned off  “South Park” in honor of my arrival.  By the end, we had about 20 teens in the room who had worked to various degrees on boundary setting, striking and targeting. The teens did what all teens do: testing, interrupting, challenging and generally, making life difficult… But they also learned, challenged each others assumptions and asked insightful questions.

After the class, when I had a few minutes to speak with the staff, they told me that they were impressed by how well the group listened and participated.  The girls in particular  asked them if we could offer more classes. We brainstormed about writing a grant together, trying to get Youth Services to fund a course, looking for a course sponsor with a special interest in helping these kids successfully find their way into safe and healthy adulthood. I don’t know how we’ll do it yet, but, somehow, we’ll find a way. Some things, like these kids, are far too important to leave to chance.

Knesset Discusses 100s of Untreated At-Risk Youth

N. has worked as a prostitute since she was 14. A. accumulated 29 criminal records before the age of 13. There is no room for them in any residential center, not for them nor for hundreds of others due to a lack of of dormitories and staff. A government investigator points his finger at the Welfare Department- and the report on this subject that he prepared was discussed today in the Knesset.

Yael Barnovsky
Ynet News (Hebrew) 09.06.09

N., a 14 year-old girl from the Central Region, fell victim years ago to violence at the hands of her father. At age 13, she got drunk for the first time and was exploited sexually by men much older than she. She received not treatment, and after she was raped by a neighbor, she started using drugs and in order to pay for them, began engaging in prostitution. The court ordered that she be placed in a closed dormitory facility but, the waiting list was too long, so meanwhile, she was placed in an open dormitory from which she regularly flees and continues her work as a prostitute.

A. a boy of 13 form the North, grew up with a violent mother and a father he barely knew, since he is rarely out of prison. Already by 7th grade, he dropped out of school and began wandering the streets. Within a year, 29 police reports were filed against him. A. who is considered a “high-risk youth”, was arrested on suspicion of abusing animals. His imprisonment was extended until the end of proceedings against him. The judge decided that, if he was placed in a closed dormitory facility, he could be released from prison. In this instance also, the answer as to whether he could be accommodated was “no”.

According to statistics from the National Council for The Child, in 2008 there was a 10% drop in the number of youth in treatment under the Youth Shelter Authority of the Welfare Department responsible for dormitory facilities for youth at risk. Since 2002 and until 2007, the number of youth placed in these facilities grew from 1,297 to 1,826- more than 40%. However, in 2008 there were only 1,650, an 11% drop. Do the statistics reflect that there are fewer youth at risk? Unfortunately, the answer is no. The reason is that, as in the examples of N. and A., there is a shortage of space in the dorms and of professional staff— that prevents fast treatment for the youth that need it most.

The Welfare Department Calls This “A Difficult Period”

These statistics were presented today (Tuesday) by the Executive Director of the National Council for the Child Dr. Yitzhak Kedman, in a meeting of the Knesset’s State Review Committee that will discuss the damning findings that arose from the report of the State Comptroller concerning the Youth Shelter Authority.

According to the report, in the 10 government dormitory facilities under the Authority there are 351 spaces and 567 on waiting lists. Of those at least another 98 would have qualified for treatment if all 351 spaces were filled. However, only 253 of the spaces are occupied and a lack of professional staff members prevents the remaining spaces from being filled.

The State Comptroller found that Youth Authority attempts to reach the Welfare Department Management in order to find a solution to the problem of dormitory placement, were not dealt with and that Welfare Department Management failed to cooperate re: the adoption of a multi-year plan that would enable an overall solution to this difficult on-going problem and provide material for dealing with this issue vis-a-vis the Treasury Department.

“If the government was a parent,we would long ago have taken him/her to court for criminal child negligence, failure to fulfill parental responsibilities, defying court orders and false imprisonment,” said Dr. Kedman…

Catch Them While They’re Young

In empowerment, teens on August 9, 2009 at 13:27

We do a lot of work with at-risk teens.  We work with them, body, mind and soul, to put them in touch with their unique value as individuals and with the  reserve of power waiting for them to tap like an oil field just below the surface.  Bright, intelligent Ethiopian teens. Young women with suspicious eyes, lips tightly pressed into mocking smiles. Innocent wild-eyed 12 year-olds standing on the threshold between girlhood and womanhood.

Empowerment Through Self-Defense

Smoke-stained 18 and 19 year-olds,  skin yellowed by too many cigarettes and too many wasted opportunities.  I have worked with them them all. Every one precious, every one on the edge of… what?

Yes, these teens are “at-risk” but so are we as a society. We are at-risk of losing the energy, enthusiasm, freshness and love that these young women could learn to infuse into our society. Every “at-risk” girl, is a dysfunctional family waiting to happen… or an empowered woman waiting to blossom.

The choice is ours.

Witness this harrowing story of young teens in Haifa trying to get out of the snare of drugs and indecency into which they have fallen.

12 Year-Old Girls Sell Their Bodies For Drugs

Dozens of young teens in Haifa allow older men to touch them in exchange for money, cigarettes, alcohol, hashish, even for a serving of falafel…

In Haifa’s Hadar neighborhood there are dozens like them: They wander around the streets day and night, passing the time smoking cigarettes and hashish, sniffing gas from air conditioners and drinking alcohol that older men give them in exchange for sexual contact and “mutual enjoyment”. They are children, only 12, 13 or 14 years old

The cold calculation with which they describe how they spend the long days of their summer vacation is hair-raising…

“It’s very easy to get drugs in our neighborhood,” T, age 13, says. How can we keep busy during summer vacation when their are no summer activities and no entertainment”. From boredom they start with hashish. The girls here are willing to do anything for drugs, including sleeping with men…

The Girls Are Easy Prey

A few days ago, several of these girls came to the offices of the non-profit organization, Yad Ezer L’Chaver, located in the heart of the neighborhood. “Please put us in your summer program. None of us have anything to do but “get wasted” they said to the head of the organization, Shimon Sabag. “Yesterday, also there were girls sitting with us. They are waiting for our organization to open another session of activities in mid-August. …

“These girls sat in my office telling me things I couldn’t digest, “explained Sabag. “These men are criminals. They see these girls as easy prey. The first hashish cigarette is free. After that, for touching their bodies and from there, to the most awful things.”

Excerpts from NRG/Maariv On-Line: Eli Levi & Yonatan Hilleli
July 31,2009

Scenes From The Dark Side of The Holy Land

In Violence in Israeli Society on July 16, 2009 at 20:00

July 14, 2009: This morning, prosecutors issued a serious indictment in the Youth Court in Rehovot against three 16 year old girls, city residents, accusing them of physically abusing their good friend, a 17 year-old girl. They are accused of holding a knife against her throat, extinguishing cigarettes on her skin and threatening to kill her, all because they suspected her of being romantically involved with the boyfriend of one of the accused.

Seedy, isn’t it?

There is something deeply disturbing about seeing young people in Israel- particularly young women- sliding into depraved indifference.  We’re talking about a society in which people still stop to pick up hitchhikers and money is passed hand-to-hand from the back of the bus to the front to pay the fare!

But come on. Israel is not Biblical Disneyland, anymore than it is the Evil Empire (though there are those who seem determined to characterize it that way). It is a real country with real people who have real problems. It’s a modern Western culture, with all the good and bad that goes with that. At the same time, it is a crossroads, a fault line where modern and traditional , the Middle East and the West meet and sometimes clash.

Israel has its crime families and its everyday heroes, its crooked politicians and its straight-as-an-arrow idealists. It has its stereotypes and it has its stereotype breakers… And aren’t teens everywhere somehow compelled to fill that role?

I helped instruct two  IMPACT Self-Defense for Teens courses over the last several months: one in Beersheva for a group of 18-19 year old girls from the Ethiopian community and one in the Etzion Bloc for a group of 14-17 year olds referred through the local “Social Welfare” Office.  I was expecting stereotypical At-Risk Teens. At-Risk Teens generally arrive late if at all with a life-is-tough-but-I’m-tougher attitude.  Winning them over is half the battle. The staff was pumped and ready. Yet, as it turned out, each of these girls was more helpful, polite and appreciative than the next. Not at all what we expected.

I guess it all serves as a reminder to constantly re-examine our assumptions and maintain the flexibility we need to deal with people as they are, not as we wish they were, nor as we fear they might be.

As for the victim of the incident described above, a few pieces of advice: 1) stay away from your friends’ crushes,  2) get yourself some new friends and 3) take a good self-defense course. You are lucky to have gotten out of this in one piece. We’d like to help you  stay that way.

Source: http://www.nrg.co.il (Maariv Online)