An Israeli TV station surveyed the 32 women who sit on the country’s Parliament and asked them about their experiences with sexual assault and harassment. A staggering 28 of the 32 women members of Parliament, also known as the Knesset, reported having been harassed or assaulted at some point in their lives. Moreover, two of the women members of Parliament reported that the assault or harassment occurred within the Knesset.
Silvan Shalom, Israel’s then-interior minister and vice premier resigned in December after nearly a dozen women made allegations of sexual harassment or assault against him, including one of his former employees. The new survey exposes that the problem within the Israeli government goes beyond what Shalom was accused of. One Knesset member, Merav Ben Ari of the Kulanu political party, spoke out in measured terms about her experiences. “Even today, the fact that I’m a single woman in the Knesset puts me in unpleasant situations,” Ben Ari said. “Sometimes people make comments … I don’t want to elaborate, but there was a situation recently in the Knesset, and I took care of it,” she said.
Other members used the survey as a chance to discuss sexual assault or harassment that stretched all the back, in some cases, to childhood. Earlier this month, 17 women lawmakers in France made headlines when they signed a declaration denouncing sexual harassment in politics, a blight which they’ve been forced to put up with. “They feel entitled to have a laugh and to make unwelcome gestures such as patting a woman on the buttocks,” one of the signatories said. “It’s time women talk about it and make it known that they are not being complimented but are effectively being treated as whores.” The declaration was sparked by the abrupt resignation of a male politician who was accused of groping a woman colleague and sending explicit text messages to others.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.