Sexually harassed Israel Defense Force officer to be recognized as disabled
Officer’s commander jailed after touching her against her will and making sexual comments, but she finds it difficult to recover. Committee to determine her disability level
A female officer who fell victim to sexual harassment by her commander, causing her to suffer from mental distress, will be recognized as handicapped by the army, a Defense Ministry expert has ruled.
The woman suffered from repeated sexual comments. In one incident, the commander even shoved her against the wall and caressed her waist.
The commander was convicted for his the actions, but the officer found it difficult to recover and even left the country for a while. The young woman, who served as a commander in one of the Israel Defense Forces’ training bases, has only been able to work around women since the incident.
The company commander, an officer holding the rank of lieutenant, was convicted of committing sexual offenses on his subordinates three years ago. He served a jail sentence and was demoted.
One of the reasons which made it difficult for the young woman to deal with the harsh experience was attempts made by commanders to cover up the affair.
In a deposition filed with the Defense Ministry by Attorney Eli Saban, the young woman described days of crying and depression, a sense of humiliation, weight loss, and a difficulty to realize her dream to develop a military career.
Over time, her emotional state worsened, causing her to leave the country in favor of the United States, where she found work in a women-only institution.
A specialist, who examined the young woman, confirmed that she had been drafted by the army without any mental problems, and that she now suffers from depressed mood and a tendency to seclude and isolate herself due to the harassment she was subject to.
The specialist’s opinion was approved by an expert on behalf of the Defense Ministry, and the officer will soon be summoned to a committee to determine her level of disability.
“This is an unfortunate incident, in which a promising officer was hurt by her officer in a way which changed her life,” said Attorney Saban. “The Defense Ministry accepted her claim, and this will guarantee treatment in her civil life.”