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Hamas terrorists ‘systematically and intentionally’ committed sexual violence during Oct. 7 attack: report

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The Association of Rape Crisis Centers of Israel (ARCCI) released a comprehensive report detailing the sexual crimes committed “systematically and intentionally” during the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, 2023. 

“The information and testimonies we provide clarify beyond any doubt what occurred, but significant parts of the story are still ahead of us,” Orit Sulitzeanu, executive director of the ARRCI, wrote in the opening remarks of the “Silent Cry” report. The ARCCI is an umbrella organization of Israel’s regional rape crisis centers.

“Since sexual assault typically involves delayed disclosure, especially during wartime, the picture presented in the report is still preliminary,” Sulitzeanu warned. “In the months and years to come, depending on the choices of the survivors, we may be able to bring a fuller story of the sexual assaults on Oct. 7 and thereafter to the fore.” 

The report found that the Hamas attack included violent rape – often involving threats with weapons – and that many of those rapes occurred collectively, with collaboration among the perpetrators and sometimes conducted in front of witnesses, including family members.

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The rapists would sometimes engage in what the report called “sadistic practices,” which included binding and tying up the victims, mutilating genital organs – including severed breasts – and using weapons as part of the rape. 

Palestinian terrorists drive to Gaza Strip during attack on Israel

Terrorists drive back to the Gaza Strip with the body of Shani Louk, a German-Israeli dual citizen, on Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Ali Mahmud)

The report cited a New York Times interview with four Nova festival rescue workers who described finding women’s bodies with spread legs, without underwear and with hands bound behind their backs. 

These “sadistic practices” aimed to increase the victim’s humiliation, and in many cases the rapists would subsequently kill the victims. 

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The attacks occurred wherever Hamas found women: Investigators found violated bodies of female soldiers at the Shura military base, at the various kibbutzes where Hamas attacked civilians, at the Nova music festival and in some cases during “captivity.” 

Sexual Assault hearing

Yael Richert speaks during an event to address sexual violence during Hamas’ terror attack on Oct. 7, held at U.N. headquarters. During the event, speakers described their personal experiences seeing women violated and condemned women’s advocacy groups for their silence. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“From the testimonies and information provided, it emerges that the sexual assaults committed in the Oct. 7 attack and thereafter were carried out systematically and deliberately,” the report concluded. 

The report stressed the difficulty in obtaining evidence and testimony, noting that the process already proves difficult enough in times of peace and therefore faces even greater stumbling blocks in times of war. 

Hamas terrorists in Israel

This image made from undated bodycam video footage taken by a downed Hamas terrorist and released by Israel Defense Forces shows a Hamas terrorist walking around a residential neighborhood in southern Israel. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

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“Various pieces of information were collected from official sources, publications in local and international press, interviews with ‘first responders’ in different areas, as well as information that arrived at the [Association] from professionals and confidential calls,” the report stated, adding that it did not include information from social media or “unverified sources.” 

United Kingdom Hamas protest

Pro-Israel protesters gathered for the “Rape Is Not Resistance” demonstration in response to the footage of Israeli women hostages being paraded when Hamas attacked Israel, and in support of all Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. (Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Weiss Maudi, who last year became the first Israeli representative to serve as a senior adviser to the president of the 77th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, said last year that U.N. bodies, particularly U.N. Women, simply refused to acknowledge that atrocities were committed against Israeli women – and young girls – despite much of it filmed by Hamas, and other Palestinian terrorists from Gaza, themselves. The search for evidence therefore received little help from outside bodies and entities. 

However, the report also concluded – perhaps for the first time – that sexual assaults occurred against children and men, but stressed that “information about this phenomenon is relatively scarce at this stage and focuses on body mutilation.” 

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“The limited exposure of sexual assaults on men, even in comparison to the limited exposure of sexual assaults in war, is considered characteristic of the phenomenon,” the report said. “Generally, men suffer from compound shame when disclosing sexual assaults, which are perceived as deeply humiliating and an attack on masculinity.” 

“It is reasonable to assume that male survivors in this case will have more difficulty seeking help,” the report added. 

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