Journal of Traumatic Stress Disorders & TreatmentISSN: 2324-8947

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Absent Victims: The Silenced History of Male Sexual Assaults in Israel

Male sexual assaults have occurred throughout human history in different cultures. Yet, this phenomenon has been silenced and the public and academic discourse around it is relatively new. The international professional literature has occasionally dealt with sexual assaults of adult male victims and the implications of such assaults for the victims as early as the 1970s. However, the bulk of the research and professional writings on this matter dates from the 1990s and later. In Israel, professional research and writing about male sexual assault victims remain rare, but have appeared sporadically in the past few years. Understanding the scope and characteristics of this phenomenon, particularly the social-public attitude towards it, requires exploring the broader context of its socio-cultural environment. The social ethos, collective identities, leading values, and global surroundings are all relevant to investigating this phenomenon and understanding the reasons for its denial that leads to neglecting and silencing its victims. The present article investigates male sexual assaults in the local context over the history of the State of Israel. It attempts to understand the public’s attitude towards them against the changing socio-cultural circumstances. I will review the changes in the Israeli society’s stance toward different kinds of assault victims – especially sexual assault – over three distinct periods. Finally, I will analyze the current situation and, based on my conclusions, will propose action directions to decrease this phenomenon, promote appropriate punishment of the assailants, and acknowledge the victims.

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