LGBTQ + organizations launch plan to combat sexual abuse

Following a series of allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against LGBTQ + television personality Gal Uchovsky and activist Etai Pinkas-Arad, Agudah – The Association for LGBTQ + Equality in Israel – and other LGBTQ + community organizations have launched a plan to combat sexual abuse in the community.

The plan, which will continue for about six months, aims to help create safer spaces by promoting certain behaviors and language with zero tolerance for abuse, harassment or exploitation.

The first phase of the plan will launch a campaign to encourage victims of sexual abuse and harassment in the LGBTQ + community to report incidents to Agudah’s victim centers and hotlines. The organizations will also support the psychosocial network and offer personal and group therapy.

The second stage will involve the creation of a new code of ethics in the LGBTQ + community to create norms and red lines on sexual behavior. Organizations will encourage the public to participate in the creation of the new code and will hold conversation circles about it. The new code of ethics will be published in the third stage of the plan.

“The last few days have shown the strength that exists in each and every member of the LGBTQ + community, the power to say enough,” said Agudah CEO Ran Shalhavi. “It is not enough to condemn, we must act now and create norms and red lines with zero tolerance for sexual assault through the discourse that exists these days.”

Israeli screenwriter Gal Uchovsky attends fashion designer Alber Elbaz’s funeral, April 2021 (credit: YOSSI ALONI / FLASH90)

“We ask members of the LGBTQ + community to continue sharing, reporting and talking about any sexual abuse, harassment or exploitation. Any sharing or reporting changes our reality on the way to a safe space based on consent,” added Shalhavi.

Earlier this month, KAN News published a report alleging that Uchovsky had sexually assaulted several men. Following the report’s release, Uchovsky announced that he would resign as president of the LGBTQ + youth group Israel Gay Youth (IGY).

Earlier this week, the first complaint was made to the Israel police against Uchovsky, after the police opened an investigation into the allegations.

Last week, Pinkas-Arad was accused of sexual misconduct by two men who said they had sex with him more than 10 years ago when they were 17 and members of IGY. The activist later announced that he would be stepping down as a member of the Tel Aviv City Council responsible for LGBTQ + issues.

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