I.'s Story of Abuse

A 23-year-old Jerusalem resident identified only as I., the mother of three children, told a SAWA researcher that when she was 16, her father, who regularly abused her, forced her to marry. She fled her husband after he began beating her as well, and reported him to the police, who arrested him.

"I met two young men from East Jerusalem who offered that I move to northern Israel with them. They promised to put me in contact with a woman who would help me find shelter and employment. At first I moved in with a Druze family in the north, who later introduced me to S., a 30-year-old divorced woman ... who owned a brothel in Acre. We shared the house with two Israeli women, and before I left, another two girls from the north came to work for S.

"I was forbidden from leaving the house, and all my needs were met by S. I =was banned from calling anyone or having a cell phone. I started having clients, but S. would never give me any money. S. would force me to drink alcohol to such an extent that I could not remember how many men I had that night. Usually it ranged from about five to 15. They had to use condoms, but some of them sometimes would sleep with me without having any kind of protection and S. never took us to a doctor. Instead she paid most attention to our hygiene and our body odor, and would bring us scented creams, oils and soap.

"I engaged in prostitution for eight months, and when one time I refused to sleep with a client, S. called my father. My father came and found me and S'.s daughter sleeping with two men. At first I didn't recognize my father and when I realized what was happening, I tried to commit suicide by breaking the bathroom window, but my father and the two men caught me. When I came home, my father forced me to take off all my clothes and beat me until I fainted. When I recovered, I escaped and went to the place that took me to my current safe house."