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Gender Violence Silence Is Wrong

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5 December 2023, Herald-Sun, by Carly Douglas

Former hostage Kylie Moore-Gilbert has called out Australian female rights advocates for their “silence” on the horrific sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas on October 7.

Dr Moore-Gilbert, who was held captive for 804 days in Iran – the principal backer of Hamas – said: “We should be able to be honest enough to ­acknowledge and recognise the gender violence of this horrible atrocity, as well as ­acknowledge the innocent women and children and Palestinian citizens who are being killed in Gaza.”

As the gruesome details of Hamas’ sex crimes continue to come to light, Dr Moore-Gilbert yesterday led a gathering of hundreds of Victorian women demanding high-profile feminists and women’s rights groups speak up.

Talking to the Herald Sun before the event, Dr Moore-Gilbert said it appeared prominent activists either “don’t want to alienate a camp that they’ve chosen or … genuinely don’t feel any sense of empathy for the suffering of innocent women and girls who’ve been tortured and gang raped and murdered”.

She said “the black and white binary” was “really damaging for our discourse here in Australia”.

Throughout the past two months, Israeli police have collected “more than 1500 shocking testimonies” since Hamas’ massacre in southern Israel.

Among them was a survivor of the Supernova festival who said she witnessed terrorists “play” with a woman’s breasts after raping and killing her.

“I saw the Palestinians bending her down, raping her and simply passing her on to the next. She was alive when they raped her,” she told them.

The Herald Sun has chosen not to publish the full testimony due to its graphic ­content.

Another eyewitness who survived the Supernova festival, Yoni Saadon, 39, also told UK newspaper The Sunday Times, he witnessed a woman surrounded by “eight or 10 fighters beating and raping her”.

“When they finished they were laughing and the last one shot her in the head,” he said.

Veteran women’s magazine editor Jackie Frank, speaking to more than 1000 people who gathered with Dr Moore-Gilbert at Hopetoun Gardens in Elsternwick on Monday night, said the silence was “absurd”.

“Tonight we are here to share our collective pain, to express our outrage and be their voice,” Ms Frank said.

“In the 58 days since October 7, we have heard little to nothing from women’s organisations denouncing the ­attacks. Barely a single women’s or feminist organisation raised any voice either criticising the horrible deeds of Hamas or solidarity to their fellow sisters.”

The United Nations was silent on the issue until last week, when Secretary-general Antonio Guterres wrote on X: “There are numerous accounts of sexual violence during the abhorrent acts of terror by Hamas on October 7 that must be vigorously investigated and prosecuted. Gender-based violence must be condemned. Anytime. Anywhere.”

His comments were followed with condemnation from UN Women – 57 days on from the attacks – who said they supported “rigorous investigations and Commissions of Inquiry” into the sex crimes.

“We are alarmed by the numerous accounts of gender-based atrocities and sexual violence during those attacks,” a statement read.

The Greens, however, have ignored multiple questions from the Herald Sun on the issue, including whether Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam would condemn the sex crimes.

Dr Moore-Gilbert said it was disappointing the Victorian Greens had not spoken out, despite the party’s focus on gender equality.

Over the weekend, Melbourne-based feminist Clementine Ford came under fire for refusing to call out the war crimes perpetrated by Hamas.

“And this one goes out to all the Zionist women who are FURIOUS that their bloodlust isn’t being supported: I DON’T CARE BABES,” she wrote.

“I don’t care that you felt betrayed or let down.”

Ms Ford did not respond yesterday to a request for comment.

Caulfield teenager Mika Solnik, whose best friend Naama Levy, 19, was captured in a terrifying video as she was taken hostage by Hamas on October 7, told the Herald Sun it was disturbing that Israeli women were being “treated as if they were not human”.

“Naama had blood stains in certain areas, they were pulling her by her hair,” she said.

The 18-year-old said the wait for her friend to be released was “strengthening the idea that she might not be alive”.

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Article source: Herald-Sun | Carly Douglas | 5.12.23

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000