Israeli judge Nissim Yeshaya resigned on Wednesday after his claim that girls “enjoy rape” sparked public outrage.
In 2007, four Palestinian men from the Shuafat refugee camp near Jerusalem raped a 13-year-old girl. While the attackers were convicted and imprisoned, the girl later petitioned the Defense Ministry requesting that she be recognized as a victim of terrorism. Yeshaya headed the three-member panel hearing the girl’s appeal.
While Roni Aloni-Sadovnik, the girl’s lawyer, was making her client’s case, Yeshaya suddenly said: “There are some girls who enjoy being raped.”
The entire room and the panel judges fell silent, according to Sadovnik, and Yeshaya looked as if he didn’t understand what had happened.
It became clear that Yeshava didn’t take the case seriously when he said that the girl had incurred no damage, and therefore did not require compensation or recognition as a victim of terrorism. He suggested that psychological damage was unfounded.
“It wasn’t even a rape trial,” Yeshaya said. “The public has got the wrong impression.”
The girl’s father was outraged, saying that people like Yeshaya shouldn’t be giving verdicts. He was also concerned that seven years of his daughter’s rehabilitation would be undone.
Yeshaya later said that his words were taken out of context, and still didn’t understand why his comment had caused uproar.
“I have no doubt that he meant nothing malicious by it,” Sadovnik said, “but the problem is that it expresses a state of mind which is prejudice against victims of sexual assault.”
After the case, Yeshaya resigned.