Dear Friends and Family

The Sirens have always supported women in the face of adversity and now we are urgently needed to support survivors of the atrocities committed in Israel on 7th October. Never before have women and young girls been targeted in this way. We can’t imagine their horror and how much they need professional help to come to terms with this unprecedented attack. The funds that we raise will be directed to train additional therapists and to support the therapists themselves, as well as the families affected by these atrocities.

On 2nd June, a group of 20 women, nicknamed the Tartan Sirens, are hiking in Speyside, in the Cairngorms National Park, Scotland, to raise money for two Israeli charities: Maslan, the Negev’s Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Support Centre, and The National Organisation for Victims of Terror, the official organisation supporting victims of terror.

As global feminist organisations have dismissed — and even questioned — the gender-based war crimes committed by Hamas terrorists, these charities have been tirelessly treating survivors and their families who suffered unimaginable trauma on October 7th.

Please sponsor us through our Tartan Sirens dedicated UJIA page or you can donate directly (via cheque or CAF) by contacting us.

Although we aren’t sleeping in tents or climbing Kilimanjaro, we are of course funding our own trip, so all the funds raised will be donated to the two charities that we are supporting. In addition, whilst UJIA are facilitating this campaign on behalf of the Sirens, they have kindly agreed that 100% of the funds we raise will be sent directly to support the two charities.

As Maslan’s CEO Yarona Ben Shalom Richardson explains, the international support from our friends and family, “gives us motivation, hope and the feeling of belonging to one big, loving and strong Jewish community”.

Thank you in advance.

 


 

The Tartan Sirens

Maslan is the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Support Centre that serves the entire Negev region in Israel from Kiryat Gat to Eilat. Maslan has supported victims of sexual violence for over 35 years, providing free, confidential, expert care for sexual assault victims, survivors, and their close family.

Today, Maslan’s caseload includes 90 new cases of sexual assault related to October 7th including: victims from that day; witnesses to these attacks; evacuees who have suffered assault in the hotels and those whose prior trauma triggered them and they are unable to currently function. Maslan provides weekly therapy to each of the individuals by trauma therapists specially trained in dealing with sex crimes and group therapy where needed. In most cases the victims do not want to get treated by social services, preferring a more discrete service.

The cost of individual and group therapy for one of these 90 individuals is £145 per week or £7,600 for the year.

Coping With the Burden of Survival

L. and her two girlfriends were spending the Holiday of Simchat Torah on a kibbutz in the south on October 7. When the Hamas attack began, L’s friend, G., immediately made a dash for the kibbutz shelter, but was caught, raped, and murdered. L and her other friend, S., ran and hid in a deserted building where they sheltered for a while. But two Hamas terrorists found them and brutally raped them, fleeing only when Israeli soldiers arrived and rescued the young women. L. is trying to rebuild her life and is seeking intensive therapy. She is burdened with deep shame as well as guilt for having survived. L.’s friend, S., is refusing to discuss what happened or consider any form of treatment, but Maslan is staying in touch with her because we know that it often takes years before survivors begin to process their trauma.

Releasing Traumatic Memories

A group of young girls in their twenties attended the Nova party. Tragically, some were murdered, and others were sexually assaulted. Many of these survivors required hospitalization. Maslan, in its capacity as first responder, offered EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) treatment, an evidence-based therapy that provides quick, and effective relief for severe trauma.

The National Organisation for Victims of Terror is the official organisation supporting orphans, bereaved families, widows, and individuals with disabilities recognized by the state as victims of terror and military attacks. It is a non-political and independent non-profit organization established in 1984 and provides humanitarian, social, legal, economic, cultural, and emotional support services. One of the programmes they established following October 7th is to provide support to families of children who have lost at least one parent. The programme helps the surviving parent or appointed guardian to face the unbearable weight of grief alone, as they struggle to navigate the challenges of household responsibilities, childcare, and therapy sessions for them and for the kids. The programme is designed to address the specific and ongoing needs of families. A key element of this initiative is a family support role. Each family is appointed a dedicated person, known as a family supporter, whose job it is to make house visits, provide logistical assistance and bureaucratic assistance and generally ensuring all the family needs are met, and they access their full rights and generally provides support to the family during this time of crisis. In addition, an aid fund is available to address additional support needed as a result of the situation, for example, provision of baby supplies, house maintenance, clothing, meals, furniture, childcare, and transportation.

The total cost of the aid fund and the family supporters programme is £578,000 over the next 6 months. The average cost per family of orphans is £735 per month of support.

Support to Bereaved Families

Gloria and Julio lost their daughter and her partner at the Nova party when they were brutally murdered in a shelter. They are now left to bring up their young grandson. Gloria and Julio are immigrants and do not read Hebrew well. A family support called Shirel helps look after the grandson and read him stories in Hebrew. The family support also assesses other needs the family have such as babysitting so Gloria and Julio can go out to work. Shirel gives the grandparents the support they need to slowly return to a life with routine and helps them access their rights and other help they need including therapy.