Israeli women were raped and widowed by Hamas. Now the world ignores and mocks their suffering [View all]
On Oct. 8, 2023 a day after Israel experienced the most brutal massacre in its history one of the first accounts of the sexual violence that Hamas waged against many of its victims surfaced. Women have been raped at the area of the rave next to their friends bodies, dead bodies, one survivor whod attended the Tribe of Nova music festival told Tablet editor-at-large Liel Leibovitz. Several of these rape victims appear to have been later executed, Leibovitz added later in the piece.
Normally, one would expect a disclosure like this not just of rape, but of rape followed by murder; rape in the midst of a violent massacre to earn the victims and survivors sympathy and support. Yet what I saw from many people online was not empathy, but doubt and disbelief.
Over the past month and a half, as the Hamas attack gave way to a brutal military assault on Gaza, battle lines have been drawn in the public discourse. Commentators have been urged to pick a side, demonstrating their loyalty to one countrys wounded by ignoring or even outright mocking another peoples suffering. In the midst of this, Israeli women in particular have been hard hit, with their pain at best ignored and at worst turned into fodder for cruel memes.
When it came to Tablets reports of rape, an initial assumption of credibility quickly gave way to skepticism. If there were actually rapes amidst Hamas assault on Israel, one misinformation expert (article has link to Tweet) asked, then why wasnt it all over major media outlets headlines? All of the knowledge about sexual assault that our society recently had refreshed during the #MeToo movement that it is commonplace during war and especially during militant actions, that it is difficult for survivors to discuss and is often left out of media coverage either out of a discomfort with the topic or a desire to protect the victims seemed to have been instantly forgotten.