A Victim Turned Hero

Dr. Orly Innes outed herself yesterday, facing countless cameras and too few women who came to support her. This brave, essential step took place, appropriately, at a rally marking the international day for the elimination of violence against women.

The Tel Aviv Museum plaza was far too empty, only a few hundred women and much fewer men - how disgraceful - bothered to show up. But it soon filled with Innes' image and presence.

How good it is to write "Dr. Innes," to see and hear this impressive woman, no longer a blurry complainant but the resolved and succinct doctor.

Innes had already triumphed last night, not only because of the huge media attention she gained. A victim turned hero, she could become the leader of the feminist cause, which is so short of troops and leaders, if she only wanted to.

I observed Innes, everybody did, with a mixture of voyeurism and curiosity. Dressed with restrained elegance, full of confidence, she displayed almost no sign of the excitement and scars of the last few awful days she had experienced.

It is hard not to believe this assertive, intelligent woman. "I'm not hiding, I'm not ashamed, I didn't do anything wrong and I'm not afraid," she said, and I believed her. "I've learned a great lesson in recent days and I undertake here tonight to translate all my insights into actions," she said, and I believed that too.

Innes castigated the media for the way she was portrayed and warned that the ordeal she had been put through would deter other women from filing complaints.

"When a woman says 'no' she means 'no'," she said, to the audience's applause, stating something that should have been self-evident a long time ago.

An army of policemen safeguarded the demonstration. What were they thinking? "What's going on here?" a passing couple asked an officer on rollerblades.

"It's a demonstration for violence against women," the sexist officer replied. A slip of the tongue. Merely a slip of the tongue.