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Tmura – The Antidiscrimination Legal Center

Herzelia Israel
April 2011
$5,000

Grant Description

Sexual abuse of girls is widespread in Israel. Every one in seven women experiences abuse during childhood and the abuses are usually committed by close family members. Survivors usually repress the traumatic memories of the abuse as children and some begin to experience flashbacks as adults. In February 2011, the Supreme Court unexpectedly ruled that the theory of repressed memories of incest victims could no longer be used as a basis for charging a predator in criminal proceedings. The court made the controversial ruling that prolonged complaints of incest should be denied, and counselors treating the plaintiffs for their trauma “implanted the flashbacks in the victims’ minds.” Fearing that the same ruling would be made in civil courts against a survivor of sexual violence they were supporting, the Israeli organization Tmura requested funds to initiate a massive awareness-raising campaign prior to the hearing of her case in March in civil court. The family member who perpetrated the violence against her requested to use the statute as grounds to dismiss the charges against him. Tmura also planned to advance a bill in parliament to eliminate any statute of limitations in adjudicating civil cases of sexual abuse in families.

Tmura is focused on legally representing, either individually or on a community basis, minorities in Israel who are discriminated against on the basis of gender, religion, nationality and ethnicity. Tmura addresses a variety of issues including: education, housing, land distribution, rape, sexual offences and violence against women.

Impact Report

With the funds granted by UAF, TMURA initiated a massive awareness-raising campaign on sexual violence against women and girls. It used funds to hire a program coordinator to manage the campaign and make contact with a public relations firm to begin raising awareness using various media including billboards, Internet banners, and social media to recruit more women for the cause. TMURA also conducted a meeting with the organization in charge of assistance to sexual assault survivors and created the proposed bill to cancel the civil statute of limitations. Finally, it initiated a research review of the subject to be passed on to decision-makers.