Causes Sought for Youth Violence

12-year-old girl regains consciousness nearly 24 hours after being drugged and raped by 13-year-olds. Parents, TV, school strike are blamed.

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Hillel Fendel ,

A 12-year-old girl was rendered unconscious for 24 hours after being drugged and raped by two boys aged 13, police said. The crime occurred in the home of one of the boys, who allegedly placed GHB or other date-rape drug into her drink. 

She was discovered early Sunday morning by the father of one of the boys, who called for medical help.  The two boys were arrested but may be released because of their age.  It is not clear whether the girl arrived at the boy's home in a state of intoxication.

Other cases of violence amongst youngsters have been reported of late as well.  For instance, shortly after midnight Monday, a 17-year-old boy was found stabbed to death, following a brawl in a commercial center in Herzliya. Several youths were detained for questioning.  In addition, a trial of two minors from the Kfar Saba area, accused of raping a 14-year-old girl, is underway. All three were drunk at the time. 

The latest case has drawn many reactions, including questions about where were the parents of the three children; the ongoing, nearly-three-week old school strike, leaving tens of thousands of youths with little to do; the emphasis on the sensual in public media such as television, movies, billboards and more; lax law enforcement and punitive measures; and more.

Message to Parents
Army Radio's Hadas Shteif, writing in the new daily commuter paper Yisrael HaYom, advises parents to be aware that their children are drinking at increasingly high rates: "Yes, they drink. It's no secret... and it's not without their parents' knowledge, and not infrequently they are only 10, 11 or 12 years old... Every week, and especially on weekends and during vacations, many boys - and girls - arrive at hospitals, drunk or unconscious, sometimes after having been found lying in the street or at friends' homes.  The parents are left shocked, unable to understand how it happened...  It's not a new phenomenon, but as parents, we wake up only when something terrible happens.  So this is the time and place for parents to wake up, to get out of our coma and to start checking where the children are when we are sleeping, what they are doing, and what time they come back. This is the time to stop being afraid of the children, to start setting limits, to use our authority. It's called, in one word, parenting."

New Welfare Ministry Counseling Program
The Welfare Ministry has announced a new initiative to afford suitable counseling for all children who have been victim to sexual abuse.  The program, run together with the National Welfare Institute and the Sacta-Rashi Foundation, will begin next year, with an outlay of eight million shekels ($2 million).

The plan is to strengthen existing treatment centers, to establish new ones, and to increase budgetary allocations to social services centers throughout the country for child-victim treatment.  Because of rising numbers of children in need and decreasing budgets, "many children, especially from weaker families, have not received treatment," said Nachum Itzkovitch, the Director-General of the Welfare Ministry. 

The number of complaints of child sexual abuse in the Welfare Ministry has risen from 2,259 in the year 2000, to 2,623 today - a jump of more than 16%.

The Teachers' Strike
The high school teachers strike, nearly three weeks old, has been cited as a possible factor in some recent cases of youth violence.  Some 2,000 students from public-religious schools demonstrated outside the government complex this morning, demanding that the teachers' demands be met. 

Television
Television and its emphasis on the sensual has also been blamed.  Many rabbis have called for the removal of television sets from homes - or at least not to turn them on until the programming content changes, as Rabbi Dov Lior, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba-Hevron, has ruled. 

Ramat Gan's Chief Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, a candidate for Chief Rabbi of Israel, has written, "We have not found permission [for TV] in Jewish Law; its harm is greater than its benefit." 

It is claimed that despite these and other rulings, over 90% of the modern-religious public has TV sets in their homes.

They - and She
Summing up the most recent case, a comment on the relevant Ynet article reads as follows:

"The two offenders will be sent to clean bathrooms for a month or two; she's on her way to vomiting up her soul in the bathroom for a year or two.  They will be sent for counseling for a week or two to make sure they know that what they did was wrong; she'll be in treatment her whole life to try to cure just one little sliver of her soul.  They'll walk around with no fear, calm and happy; she will look behind her back in fear her whole life, jumping at even the slightest touch.  They'll take aspirin if their head hurts; she'll live on tranquilizers and anti-depressants.  They'll sleep well at night; she'll sleep with tears her whole life.  They will live; she's already dead.  Everyone should be ashamed."



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