November 25th is marked, every year, as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, as established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999. Combatting the abuse of women is one of the main pillars of its work in Israel. In 2016 WIZO has once again undertaken several impressive projects to mark the day, with this year's theme: prevention as the best form of treatment.
Statistics from WIZO 2016 Violence Report
- 13 women murdered by their husbands/partners or a family member
- 987 children being treated in violence prevention centers
- 78% increase in the number of complaints filed with police by a woman injured by a domestic partner
- 12,000 women have been treated for abuse in battered women's centers across Israel.
Viral Video Campaign for Prevention
A first-of-its-kind video campaign aimed at the prevention of violence against women was unveiled by WIZO on November 21st .The campaign is part of a public social strategy which WIZO leads, to raise awareness and demand that the government invest in prevention rather than only post-abuse treatment.
The video depicts an act of physical spousal abuse and places four representative figures at the "scene" of the violence, representing the three main sources of post-abuse help for a woman: police, social worker, paramedic and judge. These four well-meaning figures, however, do not stop the illustrative act of abuse from happening.
The video went viral on social media and featured on primetime Israeli television, and received hundreds of thousands of "likes", "views" and "shares."
The video highlights WIZO's intent for 2016 to focus on prevention. According to Gila Oshrat, Chairperson of WIZO Israel, "The Israeli government invests in treating violence against women, but simultaneously ignores the opportunities to prevent it. The government fails in treating children, who are witnesses to the violence, and in treating men, who commit the acts of violence. The day when we spend more money and time on prevention than on post-abuse rehabilitation will be the day that we save Israeli society from this social blight." WIZO believes that by raising awareness and prevention among these two audiences, men and youth, the number of violent incidents can be significantly decreased.
"Hamaarechet" - investigative feature on violence against women in Israel
On November 17th , Israel's Channel 2 (the most popular TV station) broadcast an investigative feature on violence against women in Israel.
The show was anchored around the stories of two women murdered by their spouses, together with interviews with experts and family members. WIZO took a meaningful part of the show and among the interviewees is Rikva Neumann, head of WIZO's Division for the Advancement of Woman, and Malka Genichovsky, who heads The Janet Burros Center for the Prevention of Violence in Jerusalem. A number of scenes were filmed in the Gina Fromer Shelter in Jerusalem, Burros Center, and the WIZO Center for the Prevention of Violence in Ramat Gan.
WIZO Israel Conference
On November 23rd, WIZO Israel's Division for the Advancement of the Status of Women held a conference at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa on the subject of violence against women in Israel and more specifically, about the ways to discover and prevent it. Taking part were Michal Daliyot, the well-known "Super nanny" of Israel, who spoke about messages of gender, equality and violence absorbed by young children in the home setting. Tamir Leon, an anthropologist, revealed some of the disturbing violent and misogynistic items in popular culture that are consumed by teenagers in Israel society, including video games and popular songs. Shahar Segal, a writer and editor for youth television, spoke about television as related to violence against women. "I was humbled to meet young Israeli women and hear from Israeli experts who are dealing with the problem, each in their own way," Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, Chairperson of World WIZO reacted after the conference, at which she spoke. "Perhaps most touching was the memorial to the women who tragically lost their lives because of abuse during the past year. I am proud that preventing and dealing with violence against women is one of WIZO's core struggles; as long as Israeli women suffer abuse, WIZO will be here to protect and care for them."
"Mine and Mine Alone" Film and Workshop
WIZO Israel also unveiled its new project workshop, a film and workshop combination aimed at preventing violence in youth relationships. During their teenage years, young people begin developing their first romantic and sexual relationships. They are already influenced by images and messages from the internet, pornography, television & films and the world around them. Young women might be in pre-abusive situations and not even know how to identify the danger signs. WIZO's new short film, titled "Mine and Mine Alone," deals with noticing violent tendencies among partners and preventing abuse in youth relationships between teenagers and young adults. Starting in November, the film/workshop package will be implemented in schools, youth movements and youth centers across Israel. Each guided film screening will be accompanied by a workshop led by social workers and psychologists, discussing issues of abuse prevention, equality and respect in the framework of relationships and sex, with teenage spectators.
Video Campaign Featuring Beitar Jerusalem Football Team
Players from the Beitar Jerusalem Football Team participated in a special WIZO campaign - a short film featuring the football players calling on Israeli men to play a more active role in preventing and fighting the abuse of women. At their game against the HaPoel Tel Aviv team on November 21st, which was dedicated to the prevention of violence against women in Israel, the team called for a moment of silence and screened the film. "I'm very thankful to the Beitar Jerusalem Football Club for their readiness to help WIZO's effort. I'm sure that this unique project and the wide range of audiences it will reach will bring about real change," said Prof Rivka Lazvosky, Chairperson of World WIZO about the cooperation. "The phenomenon of domestic violence destroys the lives of hundreds of thousands of women, children and men every year. Regrettably, Israeli society still sees this as a 'women's problem' and not as it is – a societal issue that affects us all."
Hotline for men
WIZO operates a number of prevention-aimed projects among youth and women, as well as a hotline for men. The hotline works with approximately 700 men each year, who call in for advice and support, either before or after they find themselves on the wrong side of the equation of domestic abuse.