Thursday, August 17, 2006

Someone You Should Know - Esther Eilam

Esther Eilam
Esther Eilam is a pioneer in the field of promoting the status of women in Israel, as a founder of the feminist movement, and in the field of aid for victims of sexual assault.

In 1977, Esther established the first aid center for victims of sexual assault, in Tel Aviv. This center, like the nine centers which were established subsequently, depends on volunteer manpower. Thanks to the model she and her colleagues created, the ten centers now operating in this field are manned by over a thousand volunteers of both sexes.

Esther continues her work at the hotline for victims of sexual assault, as well as her meetings with rape victims, whom she monitors, lectures to, conducts seminars for, and assists in every other possible way.

Moreover, Esther created a coalition for the struggle against trafficking in women, and also works to assist the rehabilitation of women who had engaged in prostitution. Thanks to her collaboration with the Ministry of Education, and with her assistance, a curriculum was written for the prevention of sexual violence among schoolchildren. This program is being implemented in the schools by the psychological service of the Ministry of Education.

For 30 years, Esther's volunteer work helped to increase public awareness of the vexed issue of sexual assault, and and to upgrade the treatment accorded by official agencies in this field.

The cause to which she has devoted her life has attained impressive achievements in raising the level of awareness for the social struggle against violence toward women, and in improving both legislation and its enforcement for the benefit of victims of rape and sexual assault in Israel.

In sum, Esther Eilam is a pioneer and innovator as well as a motivator of a distinguished and important volunteer movement, which has brought about a change of values in Israeli society.

In view of all the above, Esther Eilam is worthy of the Larry and Leonor Sussman-JDC Award for Excellence in Social Services in Israel.


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