UN envoy urges Hamas rape victims to break their silence

‘We really want to ensure that you have justice at the end of the day.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Pramila Patten, the United Nations envoy for sexual violence in conflict, arrived in Israel and urged victims of Hamas sexual assault to come forward and break their silence.

The UN has come under criticism for being slow to condemn and investigate the many cases of rape and genital mutilation that happened on October 7th, and to document testimony about the sexual crimes that are still happening to male and female hostages, as reported by freed captives.

The purpose of Patten’s trip is to investigate allegations of sexual assault and to “provide an avenue of support” for survivors.

In a message released by President Herzog’s office, Patten encouraged victims of sexual violence to take the initiative and give testimony about what they experienced.

“Please come forward, please break your silence because your silence will be the license of those perpetrators,” Patten said.

“My team and I, we are here to listen to you in all safety and confidentiality,” she continued.

“I’m here for a week, I’m prepared to meet you in a safe and enabling environment and to listen to your stories, the world needs to know what really happened on October 7,” Patten explained.

Patten emphasized that no one needs to feel ashamed about coming forward, “The stigma, the shame, is on the perpetrators.”

She added that the world owes them “more than solidarity. We really want to ensure that you have justice at the end of the day, and that we put an end to this to this heinous crime.”

During her week-long trip, Patten will visit the devastated kibbutzim in the south and meet with security forces to collect evidence of sexual crimes committed by Hamas.

Although few surviving victims of sexual assault committed by Hamas on and after October 7th have come forward publicly, there is extensive forensic evidence and witness testimony of rape, genital mutilation, and other sexual crimes against victims who were also murdered.

Three released hostages have spoken to the public about the sexual mistreatment they witnessed, some saying that male and female hostages were treated like “dolls on a string” and were regularly exploited sexually.

In addition, physicians who have treated hostages have reported that many told them they were sexually assaulted and showed physical evidence of abuse.

Read  'Oct. 7th terrorists mutilated Israeli victims, stole body parts for ransom'