Whatsapp Counseling Now Available for Victims of Sexual Assault in Israel

The Crisis Center of Haifa and the North's new initiative will help those too scared or too uncomfortable to talk about their abuse.

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WhatsApp.Credit: Dreamstime

Victims of sexual assault in Israel will be able to reach out to counselors for no cost through the popular social platform, Whatsapp, starting Sunday.

The Crisis Center for victims of sexual assault in Haifa and the North will use a purely technology-based line consultation to provide emotional support and counseling.

Though not anonymous since Whatsapp does not have such a function, the platform allows millennials to confidentially reach out to mental health counselors in a way that is familiar to them, as Whatsapp is a primary means of communication for Israeli teens. 

"The truth is that most of us are much more comfortable' talking' about these tense topics by writing and not speaking," explained Shani Aloni, the director of the Crisis Center in Haifa and the North.

"So it was important for us to create a place for anyone who wants to unburden this way," said Aloni.

The New York City subway ran ads for a similar campaign in 2014, where city members could text a therapist for a nominal fee, from any time anywhere.

In Israel, the Israel Gay Youth organization, IGY, uses a similar text-to-talk method for support, but the Crisis Center's initiative is unique in that it's being used for psychological help. 

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