“Sexual violence among children and youth is an issue that is increasingly in the headlines. At the same time, there is an increase in online bullying. Teenagers use social media and various apps to harm, insult, threaten, harass or humiliate. The availability, accessibility, anonymity and the feeling of distance makes one feel immune and powerful in a way that sometimes does not exist in the real world.
Recently it was reported in the Israeli media that a group of 13-year-old boys committed sexual offenses against a disabled boy, filmed the act and then distributed the video.
This story represents a generational issue. Beyond the cruel group attack on a boy with disabilities, the boys filmed and distributed the incident.. It is a combination between real time sexual abuse and distribution of a video on social media. The touch point between youth sexual violence and cyberbullying intensifies the humiliation and oppression of the other. In addition, the illusion of photography separates the attacker from reality and removes the ability to see the victim.
The case presents a complex issue of sexual abuse which includes group abuse, conscious abuse of someone weaker than you, boys who are very young and finally crossing the line into the virtual world.
Beyond the criminal procedure, in the shocking case published today, it will be very important to have an accurate therapeutic response that can both treat sexually abusive boys and work with them on the issue of online violence – so that they receive the treatment suitable to the act they did and the harm they have caused.”
-Hadas Dolev, Manager in the Sexual Violence Field at ELEM who treats children and youth who have sexually abused.