Importance of educating against ‘rape culture’ the focus at Limmud session

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here
Limmud 2021

Importance of educating against ‘rape culture’ the focus at Limmud session

In-depth look at how to tackle sexual harassment at all levels of the community and in society highlighted during event held by Jewish Women’s Aid.

Jewish Women’s Aid reports a big rise in women seeking assistance
Jewish Women’s Aid reports a big rise in women seeking assistance

The importance of educating young people as early as possible against the dangers of “rape culture” becoming the norm was highlighted in a Sunday session of Limmud, with presenter Ilana Hutchinson of Jewish Women’s Aid.

The presentation was entitled “The impact of ‘Everyone’s Invited’ on the Jewish community”, and was an in-depth look at how to tackle sexual harassment at all levels. “Everyone’s Invited” is a website launched in June 2020 which attracted even more public attention after the murder of Sarah Everard in 2021, allowing people to share testimonies of their own experiences. The site now contains more than 54,000 separate testimonies.

Ms Hutchinson, who is the education manager of JWA, said that “a significant number of young people” had been asking to talk about sexual harassment in schools. The initial response from the Jewish community, she said, was “does this happen here?”

Her research suggests that sexual harassment is as sadly commonplace in Jewish schools as in the wider community, with that term standing for a wide variety of behaviours, from wolf-whistling and cat-calling, to “slut-shaming” of girls or “macho bullying” of boys who are not deemed to fit the ideal male stereotype.

Students are routinely groped, subjected to unwanted touching, abused verbally or on social media. or sent unwanted images. An Ofsted report in June 2021 indicated that out of 900 students surveyed, 90 per cent of girls and 58 per cent of boys were being sent explicit pictures or videos.

What was new, however, Ms Hutchinson said, was the willingness of schools to acknowledge the problem. For her part, she said, she did not want to turn up at a school on a Friday and give one talk and go away. “I want to embed my work into the curriculum of the school, so that I can help make changes”.

Sexual violence could be defined as “that which lacks consent”, she said, adding that initially some 16-17-year-olds were “very offended and defensive”, accusing school leaders or those in authority of “trying to spoil our fun”. But mostly, Ms Hutchinson said, teenagers were happy to have someone take their concerns seriously as one of the constant complaints was that if sexual harassment was reported, the school, or parents, would do nothing.

She believed that everyone could do something to alter behaviours so that “we can dismantle rape culture”. Jewish Women’s Aid wanted to educate young people towards “a greater knowledge and understanding, to give them the skills so that they can make a difference within their peer groups”.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: