Opinion: No, Gender Segregation Doesn’t Prevent Sexual Abuse
By Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar
November 16, 2017
The numbers show that there’s no link between how women and men dress and any harm done to them. Such abuse occurs at every level of society, among Jews, Muslims and Christians In his piece responding to Rafi Walden’s op-ed in which Walden opposes gender segregation, Israel Cohen suggests that secular Israelis have a lot to learn about respect for women from the ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi, community.
“At a time when more and more incidents of sexual harassment in various forms are coming to light, along with damning testimonies about men exploiting their positions of authority against women, the Haredi approach that insists on gender separation appears to make all the more sense,” Cohen writes. “The most efficient way to avoid a repeat of such grave occurrences is simply to prevent unnecessary mingling of the sexes.”
What a perfect solution! We’ll entirely divide society – women here, men there. We’ll dress everyone modestly and solve all our problems. After all, everyone knows that in ultra-Orthodox society, as in other religious communities, separation and modesty totally prevent sexual harassment and abuse.
Cohen adds: “The Haredi approach has proved itself. There are fewer cases of harassment and thus fewer complaints arising from the mingling of the sexes, which is avoided from the start.”
Is he relying on reported data? Has he spoken to young children, adolescents or men and women who’ve suffered sexual abuse or harassment inside or outside the Haredi community? Has he read the shocking testimony posted on the Lo Tishtok Facebook page, which provides a forum on sexual abuse in the Haredi community?