A leading Jewish charity has revealed it is supporting schools in “developing healthier cultures” in the wake of thousands of sexual abuse allegations posted onto a victim support website.
Jewish Women’s Aid reached out to all mainstream Jewish schools last month after an escalation in the national debate surrounding sexual abuse in schools, which has been largely ignited by anonymous posts on Everyone’s Invited.
The website was set up last June by Soma Sara, now 22, who began to share her experience on Instagram of what she calls “rape culture”.
Within a week of her posting, she had received and shared more than 300 anonymous testimonies of “misogyny, harassment, abuse and assault.”
Many of the allegations refer to sexual harassment experienced by female students by young men at their school or university.
At the time of going to print, the website had garnered more than 14,000 testimonies from anonymous victims, some as young as age nine and some including allegations that involve Jewish schools.
Jewish Women’s Aid, which offers support services for women and girls who have experienced sexual assault said in recent weeks that it had been contacted by “several schools and others across the community who are very concerned.”
The charity already reaches 4,000 students each year with its educational sessions, which include such topics as healthy relationships, consent and sexual harrassment.
CEO Naomi Dickson said: “We can provide expert knowledge and experience of healthy relationships and consent education in Jewish school settings, both for pupils and teachers.
“We are happy to share this expertise and hope to be able to support school communities in developing healthier cultures.”
JWA employs a specialist young women’s support worker, who looks after 14 to 24 year-olds and a dedicated counsellor for young women who have experienced sexual violence.
The charity is currently supporting 19 girls and women under the age of 30, across its services.
In the last week, the NSPCC has set up a special support line for those who have been affected, while Ofsted announced it would begin an immediate review of safeguarding policies in state and private schools to determine whether guidance around sexual harassment needs to be improved.
The results of the review are expected to be published next month.
To contact JWA’s sexual violence support helpline, call 0808 801 0656 or visit www.jwa.org.uk
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