Friday, February 13, 1998

Sexual Abuse of Boys Up

by Merav Sheri
Ha'aretz, Friday, February 13, 1998

There was a significant increase in reports of sexual abuse of boys in 1997, according to statistics compiled by the ELI (Association for the Protection of Children) hotline.

The ELI hotline received 168 reports about boys who had been sexually abused in 1997. In previous years, only a handful of incidents involving male children were reported. Reports of sexual abuse of boys reached 21 percent of all reports of such abuse against children last year. There has also been a rise in the total number of calls ELI receives. In 1997, there were 4,200 calls.

According to Hanita Tzimrin, the president of ELI, "There has not been a rise in the scope of abuse, but in a legitmization which made people more willing to report it. In many cases, boys who are abused are afraid to report because they fear the abuse might indicate they are homosexual. A boy abused by an older man often fears he is homosexual or will become homosexual. So we try to send the message that it was the abuser who was in the wrong." Most reports of sexual abuse of boys concern children between the ages of 6-12. In about 23 percent of the cases that reach the hotline the abused boys reported the abuse themselves - a relatively high percentage for their age. In about 20 percent of the cases, the non abusive parent (the mother) is the one who reports, about 20 percent are neighbors, and about 10 percent of reports came from a relative who was not a parent.

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