"When the verdict was issued, I shed tears of joy. Things have come full circle, and justice has been done," H., the complainant against former justice minister Haim Ramon told Haaretz on Wednesday, shortly after Ramon was convicted of indecent behavior for kissing her against her will.
"I don't like to use the word victim," she said. "I don't like that word. No one will turn me into a victim. He harmed me emotionally. He destroyed my dignity. I felt as if everything I had built during an entire year in the Prime Minister's Office was shattered in two seconds by a man I had previously seen two or three times. The court gave me back my dignity today."
Throughout the interview, the television remained on and H. had a difficult time diverting her attention from the ongoing reporting on the verdict. She is a very self-confident young woman with a radiant expression, which quickly changed when Ramon's face appeared on the screen.
"From the moment I filed the complaint, I never stopped and asked myself why," she continued.
"I was hurt, but when you go for something, at least I do, you go for it with all you've got, you fight until the end," she said. "And the fact is, the court decided today that I am reliable and he did something he shouldn't have done. A justice minister in Israel cannot kiss a female officer without her consent in the Prime Minister's Office. That is unacceptable."
Next week, H. will celebrate her 22nd birthday. When I asked her she will mark this occasion, she answered: "Today I received a very big birthday present: I got back my dignity, my integrity. Everything they slandered and destroyed over seven months the court gave me back in a 73-page verdict.
You are angry with the media. Why?
"I've felt disgusted with the media since the trial began. I felt that the media was not being objective. I knew I would have to deal with strong forces, because Ramon is a well-connected person, but I saw the media campaign accurately. I expected it. A few days before the event with Ramon, the Katsav affair broke out. I saw the demonizing of the complainant A. and I expected what awaited me."
"The media has shown itself as one that protects the strong and harms the weak. I hope that a number of journalists will engage in soul-searching given what the court ruled."
What especially bothered you?
"I was a characterized as a person that I would never want to be like. They didn't hesitate to say that I seduce men. Rivka Faloch (a PMO employee who testified on Ramon's behalf, and whose testimony was ruled to be false) wrote the court a note in which she called me a slut. With all due respect, I don't know her and have never spoken to here in my life. Faloch's testimony was the worst of the worst as far as I was concerned. "
10 days passed between Ramon kissing H. against her will and H. filing the complaint. In the first few days, she decided not to complain. In a letter she wrote to her command, the evening before traveling to Costa Rica, H. informed him that she intends to "bury" the story.
Ramon and H. met twice during those 10 days, in brief encounters in the Prime Minister's Office. To those who know H., it appears today that if Ramon had approached her and apologized, she never would have issued a complaint.
The stubborn defensiveness of Ramon's version of events, and his personal attacks on H., are what gave her the strength to wage the impossible battle.
H. remembers one of those two encounters with Ramon to this very day: "I felt fear. I left the Prime Minister's Office in the direction of the [prime minister's] military secretary's office. He touched me, and out of the fear of that fact that he touched me, I ran to the military secretary's office. I felt horrible disgust toward the man at that moment. Disgust that was mixed by a traumatic memory from that event, and great pain."
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