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Growing evidence of sexual abuse by Hamas fighters

todayDecember 9, 2023

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Growing evidence of sexual abuse by Hamas fighters

Authorities in Israel don’t know, and may never know, how many people were sexually abused by Hamas on 7 October, but evidence that many women were subjected to rape and assault has grown over recent weeks.

At least 300 of the dead on that day were women, many at the Nova musical festival.

Because so many of the victims, and the attackers, are dead, gathering evidence and building criminal cases is very hard.

Many of the corpses were too decomposed by the time they could be retrieved or very badly burnt and disfigured.

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The scene at the site of Nova Festival

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The scene at the site of Nova Festival on 7 October

The priority in the days after the attacks was to identify the dead so that families could be told.

Many of the dead were then buried quickly under Jewish law before the testimonies of sexual violence were properly realised or understood.

Securing convictions for sexual violence are incredibly hard. Reuters recently reported that roughly 80% of cases in Israel are closed every year due to insufficient evidence.

Many of the 7 October survivors are reportedly too traumatised to speak about their experience and the dead have no voice to do so.

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‘They didn’t just rape them… they humiliated them’

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What happened after Hamas left the Nova festival site

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A UN Committee investigating war crimes on both sides will examine accusations of gender-based violence.

Hamas vehemently denies its fighters carried out sexual assaults, and it would be contrary to Islamic teaching, but Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, a women’s rights expert and Bar-Ilan University in Israel, told us it was a tactic of genocide.

“It is seen as an extremely potent manner to achieve the ultimate humiliation and devastation of the enemy,” she said.

“The body of the woman is perceived to be as the symbol of the body of the nation.

“So violating, invading the body of women is taken as if the whole nation is being invaded and violated. It also serves to humiliate the men of the enemy on account of their inability to protect their women.”

Written by: Newsroom

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