Haredi Women in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak Fall Prey to Phone Harassment

Man phones ultra-Orthodox graphic designers, introduces himself as working for organization assisting rape victims.

For the past three and a half years, an unknown man has been harassing ultra-Orthodox women over the phone, asking them to talk about "how it feels to be raped," a Jerusalem woman recently complained to the police.

According to the complainant, the man apparently phones ultra-Orthodox women from Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, who work as graphic designers or illustrators, at around 11 P.M. He introduces himself as working for an organization that assists woman who have undergone physical or sexual abuse. He asks them a number of questions and after a few minutes the conversation becomes increasingly graphic.

Last Wednesday, Leah, a graphic artist, received a call from a man who introduced himself as David, and claimed to work for an organization for abused women.

"I didn't suspect anything and answered his questions, but when the began asking me to talk about how it feels to be raped and to describe the female private parts, I began to realize he was really sick," Leah said. "I asked him how he got my number and he said he got it from someone who studied art with me in the past."

When Leah called the woman from whom the man said he got her number, the woman told her that for the past three years the serial caller had given her name to hundreds of ultra-Orthodox women, saying she had directed him to them.

"I have a list of hundreds of women who he has called and who then called me," the woman said. "He even introduces himself by the same name every time. Many of the women are traumatized by the experience. They aren't used to talk about things like these, certainly not with a strange man."

She said the calls had stopped for awhile, but recently the caller had started harassing women over the phone again.