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Israeli women saying #MeToo for years now

A Facebook page started in 2013 has collected thousands of testimonies of sexual abuse, and numbers have ramped up since Weinstein allegations became public

International fashion model Maayan Keret said she was raped at the age of 12. Since then, Keret said, she has been harassed or assaulted so many times she “stopped counting.”

Yael Arad, a silver medalist in judo at the 1992 Summer Olympics, said that despite her “image and physical abilities,” men have tried to “take advantage of or harass” her three times.

Knesset member Merav Ben-Ari said male soldiers on her army base verbally harassed her and touched her inappropriately.

These are just a few of the many accounts of sexual harassment and assault shared by high-profile Israeli women in recent days in response to the #metoo campaign launched Sunday on Twitter by the American actress Alyssa Milano.

A response to the sexual abuse allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the phenomenon spread quickly — in the first 24 hours, there were more than 12 million Facebook posts, reactions and comments about it.

Here, in addition to scores of high-profile Israelis, thousands of ordinary women have added their voices to the accounts of sexual harassment and assault from women around the world.

As it happens, however, this is far from the first time that Israeli women have said “Me Too”— or “Gam Ani” in Hebrew: A Facebook page called “One Out of One,”

launched in 2013, has collected nearly 2,500 such testimonies in recent years, the vast majority of them anonymously.The Israeli media have highlighted the campaign and the issue of sexual assault. On Monday, Yediot Aharonot, one of Israel’s most widely read newspapers, splashed the sexual harassment and assault accounts of six prominent Israeli women — Arad and Ben-Ari among them — across its front page under the headline “Also Us.”

Gal Shargill, a 33-year-old attorney in Rosh Pina, started the page along with feminist activist Shlomit Havron. Their goal was to raise awareness about how widespread sexual harassment and assault are in Israel. The name, much like “Me Too,” is a reference to the notion that nearly every Israeli woman has a story to tell.

Israelis take part at the SlutWalk march in central Tel Aviv, on July 8, 2016.We don’t want to be victims anymore. We don’t want to have to say ‘Me Too,’ but this is the situation,” informed Shargill . “We have to say it to make it real, so we all know that we are all sexual harassment and assault survivors.”

One Out of One quickly drew national attention. The Facebook page now has more than 40,000 followers and is well known in Israel. Shargill and Havron also run a nonprofit organization of the same name that provides guidance and legal counsel to victims, as well as shares memes commenting on sexual harassment and assault.

Orit Sulitzeanu, the executive director of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers of Israel, credited One Out of One with helping to “pave the way” for the #metoo campaign, which began in the wake of a New York Times story in which dozens of women alleged that Weinstein had sexually harassed or assaulted them.

“Sharing testimonies was not something that took place on Facebook, and they made it possible,” Sulitzeanu said. “#Metoo just took what they did one step further with women saying ‘here, this is my name, this is my identity, and I’m talking.’”

Some of the first stories Shargill and Havron shared were their own. Shargill said she was raped once and at work was sexually harassed repeatedly.

The two women have also participated in the #metoo campaign, posting supportive messages on the One Out of One Facebook page and working through the surge of testimonials they have received in recent days. Whereas they might get 10 to 20 submissions in a typical week, Shargill said, they have received approximately 30 to 40 since #metoo went viral.

NMTV

NMTV was launched in the year 1999, and is Maharashtra only accredited 24-hour, 7-day-a-week local cable news station of Navi Mumbai airing news bulletins and programs in English, Hindi and Marathi. NMTV represents the state-of-the-art in local television news coverage, delivering on a commitment of responsible and community-oriented journalism on an around-the-clock basis.

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