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Israeli rape survivor still struggling

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TALI FEINBERG

The SA Jewish Report is raising funds to help pay for this young woman’s counselling, which David expects will continue for at least another year or two. Orit Sulitzeanu, the executive director of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, says one year of intense therapy twice a week would cost about $11 000 (R160 259).

The money raised by the South African community will also go towards providing psychological support for South African rape survivors.

The couple are still struggling to get back on their feet.

“We’re both not really functioning. Before the trip to South Africa we lived together, but now we live with our parents. However, her mother has her own problems, and there is often not enough food and so on,” says David. He is in Jerusalem and she is in Haifa. He finds himself rushing between the two, trying to support his girlfriend and create stability in his own life.

“I have started working again, but Sarah is in no position to get a job. She stays at home, and lives from one moment to the next, doing Sudoku puzzles. She is progressing, but she is often very down. Her energy is low, and her life is on hold – we don’t think about the future. She is on her own, waiting for people to call and check on her. It’s been a big blow.”

Sarah’s family drives her to her treatment at a psychiatric hospital near Netanya twice a week. “It’s the best in the country, the kind of facility where they treat Holocaust survivors and people with post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD). It’s a place no one wants to go!” says David. “It was recommended that we try to get Sarah a government subsidy as someone who is ‘handicapped’, as she is now not capable of working.”

The rape and assault has had a further impact on their relationship. “We sometimes talk about what happened, which is horrible. It’s definitely affected our relationship. It also has an impact on those around us. The other day, my mother started crying when we were talking about it.”

To the South African Jewish community, David says he and Sarah deeply appreciate all the support they have received. “Please don’t forget about us,” he says, saying that financial donations will go a long way towards assisting them.

* not their real names.

Donations can be made to the following account: Ian Levitt Attorneys Trust Account, Absa Bank, Rosebank Central Branch. Account number: 4046253714. Reference: Israeli tourist

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