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Why Are Feminists Silent on Rape and Murder?

2024-01-18 (272)

Jan 15, 2024 Honestly with Bari Weiss

One hundred days ago, the world changed. October 7 has proven to be many things: the opening salvo in a brutal war between Israel and Hamas; an attack that could precipitate a broader, regional war; the beginning of a global, ongoing orgy of antisemitism; a wake-up call regarding the rot inside the West’s once-great sensemaking institutions; a possible realignment of our politics.

One of the things it has also been is a test. A moral test that many in the West have failed. That test of moral conscience is a continuing one considering there are still 136 hostages in Gaza. Two of them are babies; close to 20 of them are young women.

Across the Western world, these hostages have faded from view. And when it comes to the fate of the many young women abducted by Hamas and taken to Gaza, the silence from some corners has been deafening.

Today on Honestly, Bari argues that the groups you would expect to care most about these women and hostages—the celebrity feminists who are always the first to speak up in times of crisis, the prominent women’s organizations who protested loudly when it came to #MeToo, Donald Trump, or Brett Kavanaugh, and the international, supposedly “nonpolitical” human rights organizations—have said and done next to nothing about the murder, kidnap, and rape of Israeli girls.

What explains their silence—or worse, their downplaying or denial?

When Michelle Obama, Oprah, Malala Yousafzai, Angelina Jolie, Kim Kardashian—and the rest of the civilized world—saw the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria by Boko Haram in April 2014, within days they took to Twitter and demanded “Bring Back Our Girls.”

Why isn’t the world demanding the same now?

It’s been one hundred days in captivity: bring back our girls.

Video Transcription:

I'm Barry Weiss, and this is honestly, today's

episode is an important one, but it may

be a little hard to listen to.

It also includes descriptions

of graphic sexual violence.

So don't listen to this one with kids in the room.

I want to tell you about a group of girls

who were kidnapped by terrorists thousands of miles away.

The girls were teenagers, and they were taken, grabbed

and thrown into trucks by a murderous gang, abducted

from their families, and dragged into remote hideouts.

These terrorists, driven by an extreme islamist

ideology, were opposed to the civilization that

these girls believed was their birthright.

The right to be educated, the right to be

independent, the right to chart their own destinies.

And so they kidnapped them.

When the world heard the news of this

faraway story, people were outraged and empathetic.

The first lady of the United States saw it on the news.

Those could be my daughters, she thought.

And compelled by what I imagine was a

combination of maternal instinct and a sense of

duty to speak out against evil.

She took to Twitter and demanded, bring back our girls.

Within days, women around the world, leaders in

Washington and celebrities in Hollywood followed suit.

They knew that they had an audience, they knew

that they had platforms, and they wanted to do

everything they could to call attention to this atrocity.

What I'm describing was the righteous outrage in the

west in response to the kidnapping and sexual slavery

of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria when they were kidnapped

by the islamist militant organization Boko Haram.

In April 2014.

Michelle Obama, Oprah Malala Yusufzai, Alicia Keys, Angelina Jolie,

Kim Kardashian, and the rest of the civilized world

saw a story of good versus evil.

And so they spoke out about it.

The situation could not have been clearer,

nor could the moral imperative for those

with power to do something about it.

And power they had.

President Obama wound up deploying american troops to assist

in the search for the schoolgirls in Nigeria.

Nearly ten years later, on October 7, 2023, terrorists

driven by an extremist islamist ideology, kidnapped another group

of teenage girls thousands of miles away.

These men brutalized and abducted the girls

and many others, including soldiers, innocent men,

women, the elderly, children, and even babies.

All told, there were over 240 of them.

The terrorists took these people, some of whom were

still in their pajamas, into tunnels deep underground.

This wasn't Boko Haram, and it wasn't in Nigeria.

It was Hamas and palestinian islamic jihad, the

ruling islamist factions in the Gaza Strip.

And the people taken were Israelis.

In this case, there were no viral hashtag campaigns.

There were no clear and

urgent statements from female leaders.

The kinds of feminists that so many young

girls look up to and have come to

rely on for their information about the world.

No Michelle Obama, no malala, no Emma Watson,

no Greta Tunberg, no America Ferreira and I

could go on and on and on.

There has been no relentless rallying

cry from our prominent women's organizations.

Instead, there has been silence.

Silence from the leaders of the "Me too" movement.

Silence from the celebrities who spoke at the Women's march

and, in time's up, silence from those who denounced pay

gaps and Harvey Weinstein and Trump's grab him by the

pussy comment and rape culture more generally.

Silence from people who opposed Bret

Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Silence save one weak statement 55 days after October

7 from UN Women, a group whose mission is

to, quote, create an environment in which every woman

and girl can exercise her human rights.

When I saw the list of women's rights

organizations who have said nothing, I nearly choked.

Where is the solidarity for women in this

country and in this world to stand up

for our mothers, our sisters and our daughters?

Silence for two months after October 7 from

the National Organization for Women, the largest feminist

activist organization in the United States.

And when they finally did muster out

a statement, they didn't even mention Hamas.

Silence from the international committee of the Red Cross,

who is supposed to be an independent and neutral

organization to, quote, ensure humanitarian protection and assistance for

victims of war and armed violence, and to promote

the laws that protect victims of war.

Silence from almost every organization you would expect to

care about these women and these hostages, organizations who

are chartered to actually do this work, to protect

these hostages and to make a difference daily.

Many of these people in these groups call for a

ceasefire in Gaza, but they are silent about the hostages.

Why do they cry for a ceasefire and

not insist on freeing the hostages, the very

thing that could actually end the war?

There are 136 hostages still being held

by Hamas in Gaza right this moment.

Some of those people are dead.

Two of them are babies.

About 20 of them are young women, and

it has been a hundred days since they

disappeared beneath the earth's surface in Gaza.

In those 100 days, thanks to those hostages who

have been released, and thanks to the intrepid work

of journalists in Israel and across the world, we

have learned a great deal about what the feminists

of the world are choosing largely to ignore.

They are ignoring hostages who have been

seriously wounded, shot or with dismembered limbs,

who are without medical care.

They are ignoring hostages who don't

have enough food and water.

They are ignoring hostages who

are being beaten and tortured.

They are ignoring hostages who have been sitting for

100 days in the pits of hell, as if

all of that wouldn't be bad enough.

But what they are also ignoring is the

ongoing subjugation of those some 20 remaining women.

And that is not hyperbole or hysteria or speculation

or claims made by politicians to make a political

point or advance the aims of the broader war.

It is firsthand testimony that is coming out of

the mouths of women who were there and who

saw what was happening with their own eyes.

One released hostage, 17 year old Agam Goldstein Almog,

told the Free Press that about 50 days into

her captivity, she met some of these young women

in the tunnels, some of whom still had bloody

gunshot wounds that had been left untreated and one

of whom had a dismembered limb.

They told Agam that they had been sexually abused.

Here is what Agam told us.

I heard from them accounts of terrifying and

grotesque sexual abuse, she said, often at gunpoint.

They told me that when they were sad and

cried, their captors would take advantage of their helplessness

even more and stroke and caress them and then

shove and grab intimate parts of their bodies.

They were treated, Agam told us, like playthings.

Khren Goldstein Almug Agam's mother, who was held

hostage with her daughter, told the New York

Times that she, too, met women in the

tunnels who said they were sexually abused.

In recounting a conversation she had with these

hostages, hen told israeli media that Hamas, quote,

simply put a gun to their heads and

did what they wanted to them at gunpoint.

21 year old Mia Shem, who was released after

54 days in captivity, told israeli media that before

she was taken to Gaza, she was, quote, groped

on her upper body by her first kidnapper.

It was only when he realized that her

arm was severed, she said, that he stopped.

when she got to Gaza, she said

she feared death and she feared rape.

She said she thinks the only reason she wasn't

raped in captivity is because her captor's wife and

children were present in the home the whole time.

Did he ever do something like that?

No, only because his wife was outside the door.

If we were there alone, something was bound to happen.

Aviva Siegel, 64 years old, was held

in Gaza for more than 50 days.

Her husband is still in captivity.

She testified before a Knesset committee that she

witnessed a woman being tortured and another who

showed signs that her captor had violated her.

It's not just the released

hostages giving these testimonies.

One of the doctors who treated the released hostages

reported that ten of the people who were freed,

including men, were sexually abused in captivity.

Another doctor said that among the 30 female hostages

that he treated between the ages of twelve to

48, many suffered sexual assault during captivity.

Another doctor said that many of the

released female hostages showed signs of PTSD

and said that the patients are, quote,

deeply traumatized by extremely serious sexual assaults.

None of this should come as a surprise because the

entire world saw what Hamas did on October 7 above

ground, in broad daylight, proudly captured in their own photographs

and videos for the entire world to see.

The extent of the rape and sexual violence

by Hamas on October 7 has been well

documented in pictures, in videos, in eyewitness accounts,

in testimony from rescue teams and medics, in

testimony from pathologists, and from people who prepare

jewish bodies for burial according to jewish law.

A New York Times investigation last month, the

haunting must read piece is called screams without

words, reported that medics found more than 30

bodies of women and girls with their clothes

torn off and with signs of sexual abuse.

They reviewed photographs of one woman's corpse with, quote,

dozens of nails driven into her thighs and groin.

They also reviewed a video provided by the

israeli military, quote, showing two dead israeli soldiers

at a base near Gaza who appeared to

have been shot directly in their vaginas.

One witness, a 24 year old woman named Sapir,

who survived the Nova festival on October 7, spoke

to the Times about what she saw that day.

And this next part is hard for me to read,

and it may be hard for you to listen to,

but I think it's important for me to read it.

Quote, the first victim she said she saw was

a young woman with copper color hair, blood running

down her back, pants pushed down to her knees.

One man pulled her by the hair and made her bend over.

Another penetrated her, Sapir said.

And every time she flinched, he

plunged a knife into her back.

She said she then watched another woman, quote,

shredded into pieces while one terrorist raped her.

She said another pulled out a box

cutter and sliced off her breast.

One continues to rape her and the other throws

her breast to someone else and they play with

it, throw it, and it falls on the ground.

She said the men sliced her face and

then the woman fell out of view.

Around the same time, she said, she saw

three other women raped and terrorists carrying the

severed heads of three more women.

Another witness at Nova, Roz Cohen, told the

Times and later CNN, of a gang raped

he witnessed at the festival on October 7.

It was like half a circle, and the

girl was in the middle of the circle.

And after they pulled the clothes off of the

girl, one of them started to rape her.

And it was something like 40 seconds.

And after he rape her, he take

a knife and kill her, murder her.

And after he did it, he

continued to rape the dead body.

In countless IDF testimonies, soldiers and medics and

volunteers have testified to what they found in

the homes of the kibutsim near Gaza.

One rescue officer testified that when he entered the home of

one of the communities attacked, he found a 14 or 15

year old girl who had been raped and then killed.

Shot in the head in her bedroom next to her sister.

I see two girls, 1415 years old teenager.

Her pants are pulled down.

Someone executed her right after he brutally, brutally raped

her while just shooting her in the head.

Some first responders testified that they couldn't even tell

if the bodies they found were men or women.

That's how badly these people were mutilated.

I saw in front of my eyes a woman laying.

She was naked.

She had nails and different

objects in her female organs.

Her body was brutal in a way

that we could not identify her.

Others who work for the military morgue testified

that they saw, quote, women with bloody underwear,

with broken bones, broken legs and broken pelvises.

As the Times investigation points out, the true number of

women assaulted on October 7 will never be known.

And that's because some of the bodies were burned so

badly that they weren't bodies in the end at all.

And it's also because jewish religious ritual

dictates that bodies be buried as quickly

as possible, usually the day after death.

And of course, there was the absolute chaos of the

days following the attack, when terrorists were still roaming free

in southern Israel, and where israeli medics and volunteers were

simply unable to keep up with the death toll and

the destruction at the Nova festival site.

To choose just one example, bodies were

hauled away by the truckload, more than

360 of them at that particular site.

Now imagine right now if one of these 18 or 19

year olds being held up by Hamas was your daughter.

Imagine if the world.

Imagine if other mothers and daughters and

women did not scream on your behalf.

That silence alone would be unimaginable.

But then imagine if some of them didn't just

not speak up for you, but instead they berated

you or suggested that your child somehow deserved it.

That's exactly what happened to the mother of

one teenage girl who currently remains in captivity.

Last month, in New York City, a

group of anti Israel protesters harassed Dr.

Ayelet Levi Shakar, the mother of a 19 year old

girl, Nama, who was taken hostage on October 7.

Shame on you, they yelled at the grieving mother.

Ayelette's 19 year old daughter, Nama Levy, was taken

hostage by Hamas in a now infamous video.

Her hands were bound, her ankles were cut, her

pants were soaked in blood, and she is stolen

away by screaming terrorists with automatic weapons spirited away

into the back of a black jeep.

Or take how the Red Cross responded to the

family of Darone Steinbrecher, a 30 year old woman

being held by Hamas and Gaza without her medication.

The family told Jake Tapper that when they begged the

Red Cross for help, the Red Cross actually told the

family, you should focus your concerns on Gazins.

My mom had a few meets with the Red Cross and

she told them, my sister need to get her medicine.

And they told her that we should care

more about the arab people on the other

side and less about our beloved one.

Or take just this week, when a San Francisco

man who lost five family members at Kibutz Beri,

including two who were kidnapped, shared his testimony at

a city council meeting, he was met with booze

and jeers and pig noises from anti Israel activists.

It fuels anti semitism and hatred, as

exemplified in this room right now.

Listen, the pig noises and everything

else, this is pure anti semitism.

And I have never since I've moved to,

I am pausing public comments, this kind of

hatred against a minority group ever and again.

Just last week, when an israeli woman in New

York City went over to a group of anti

Israel protesters and tried to talk to them.

My friend is being held hostage by Hamas, she said.

One of the female protesters responded,

go cry at home, bitch.

Go cry at home.

And then maybe worst of all, there are

the women who are questioning or denying that

any of this happened at all.

Now, it's important to note that there are also

a lot of men denying the atrocities of October

7 and the ongoing atrocities, the gray zones, Max

Blumenthal, the journalist Aaron Mate, the journalist Ali Abumina,

Owen Jones from the Guardian but the thing I

cannot wrap my head around is how a staggering

number of these deniers and the people ripping down

the posters of the hostages are women themselves.

Women like Brianna Joygray, a political commentator

at the Hill, host of the show

rising and most notably Bernie Sanders 2020

presidential campaign national press secretary.

She also happens to have a law degree from Harvard.

Over and over again, Gray has simply refused

to accept that Hamas raped israeli women. Why?

Because the, quote, Zionists, she says,

were relying on men as witnesses.

And because, as she put it, Israel

didn't collect rape kits on October 7.

In case that seems hard to believe,

here's the whole tweet for you.

Zionists are asking that we believe the

uncorroborated eyewitness account of men who describe

alleged rape victims in OD fetishistic terms.

Shame on Israel for not seriously investigating

claims of rape and collecting rape kits.

Next, she added, it was fishy that

no female victims have offered their testimony.

As the feminist Jill Filipovic put it perfectly, yes,

it is generally the case that if you kill

your victims, they can't testify against you.

I'd add that it's hard to give testimony when you're

held underground at gunpoint in a tunnel by a terrorist.

More recently, in the face of overwhelming evidence, including

the New York Times investigation, an investigation that did

include female eyewitnesses, Gray argued that she simply has

skepticism that is rooted in the timing of what

she calls the resurgence of these claims.

And this is subjective.

I'm not saying that I have any evidence of

this, but it felt coordinated and out of nowhere

and perhaps in response to clearly dwindling public support.

If I hadn't told you that these words were

coming out of the mouth of a former Bernie

Sanders campaign secretary, I'd venture to guess that you

would have thought they were coming out of the

mouth of someone like Alex Jones.

This is a person, Gray is, who tweeted in

2018 about Bret Kavanaugh's sexual assault allegations that, quote,

the burden is on Kavanaugh to rebut it.

I could go on about the hypocrisy of Brianna

Joy Gray, but the thing is, this isn't just

an instance of a single morally blind person.

In November, Samantha Pearson, then director of a

sexual assault center at Canada's Alberta University, denied

that acts of rape had taken place on

October 7, calling them unverified accusations.

Last week, when democratic politician Matt Dorsey asked the

San Francisco Board of Supervisors committee to include language

of Hamas's mass sexual violence in a ceasefire resolution

it had passed, he was met with shouts of

liar from the crowd and according to a two

month investigation by the New York Times, quote, showing

a pattern of rape, mutilation and extreme brutality against

women, end quote.

In another instance from last week, when a woman

was confronted on the street and asked why was

she tearing down the posters raising awareness of Hamas's

use of rape as a weapon of war, she

responded, because they have been proven false.

Excuse me?

Why'd you just tear down signs of women

who went through sexual assault in Israel? Yeah.

Because they have been proven false.

They've been proven false? Yes.

Now, perhaps you're listening to this right now,

and you wonder if Israel is prosecuting its

war against Hamas in the right way.

Perhaps you're listening to this and thinking,

too many innocent Palestinians have been killed.

Perhaps you're thinking Palestinians should

have their own state.

Or maybe you're thinking Israel has historically been

unjust in its treatment of the Palestinians.

Or maybe you're listening and thinking

about a thousand other things.

A thousand other things about israeli policy or about BiBi

or about settlements or about Hamas or about US aid,

or about fears of an ever growing war.

All of those are fair positions.

All of those are fair questions.

All of those are things worthy of debate.

But when you are asking things like, why didn't

they use rape kits on dead women, raped and

shot in the head by terrorists on October 7,

you sound a little bit like a 911 truther.

It was almost like they ignored it

because they wanted it to happen.

Oh, come off it, Jesse.

No, not, oh, come off it. Every. Wait a minute.

Every war thought starts with a false flag

operation or like a Sandy hook denier.

The official story of Sandy Hook has

more holes in it than swiss cheese.

So don't ever think the globalists that have

hijacked this country wouldn't stage something like this.

Or like, why did Hitler want to gas the Jews? He didn't.

The gas chamber they show you in

Auschwitz is as genuine as the fairy

castle in Orlando, rather like Disneyland.

And Auschwitz has become the kingpin,

the linchpin of the Holocaust industry.

I've been asking myself for weeks now,

where does all of this come from?

There's no single answer.

Perhaps it's politics, the growing trend of young

women and not young men moving leftward.

And if you're on the hard left, you've

been immersed now for at least a decade

in the belief that the world is divided

plainly in two, the oppressor and the oppressed.

And Israel is the ultimate oppressor.

And likely everything in your world, your school,

your social media feed, the celebrities you admire,

reflects that worldview back to you.

Or perhaps it's fear.

Fear of speaking out on issues

that are perceived as controversial.

Fear of being tarred as choosing sides.

Fear of being tarred as choosing the wrong side.

Or perhaps it's because facing the reality of

this situation is actually too difficult to bear.

Or perhaps it's because the victims

in this case are Israelis.

And Jews.

As my friend Bhatya Anger Sargon has

noted for years, certain people demanded we

replace due process with believe all women.

These same people, when presented with evidence of the

mass rape of israeli women, now demand context.

Believe all women became don't believe the confessions

of rapists if their victims are Jews.

Whatever the reason, for anyone, especially for women, to

remain silent or to downplay or to deny such

atrocities is an assault not just on the victims,

not just on their families, not just on Israelis,

and not just on Jews.

It is an assault on truth itself.

Look for a second at the faces of these girls.

Leary Albag, age 18 Agam Berger, age 19.

Daniella Gilboa, age 19.

Karina Ariev, age 19.

These are four of the remaining young

israeli women still in Hamas captivity.

This horrifying video was taken on the

very first day of the war.

They have now been there for a

hundred look at these four women's faces

and think about what they have endured.

Last month, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that

one of the reasons Hamas doesn't want to release

the young female hostages is they don't want these

women to be able to talk about what happened

to them during their time in custody.

Everyone knows exactly what he means by that.

There have been a few notable

exceptions, of course, to the silence.

The musician pink, Cheryl Sandberg, Regina Spector,

Mayan Bialik, Amy Schumer, Jessica Seinfeld.

But they have been so notable

because they have been so rare.

And most of the prominent famous women

who have spoken out are jewish.

Everyone I just named is listen to what Naama Levy's

father told the New York Post about his 17 year

old still being held by Hamas in Gaza.

My daughter believed Michelle Obama to be someone

who not only cared about global women, but

also someone with a really good heart.

Why has she and all these other famous women

Nama looked up to and all of the global

human rights organizations she believed in stayed silent about

what has happened to my Naama.

Naama's mother told the Free Press last month

that the remaining female hostages are not bargaining

chips to be debated by diplomats.

They are daughters, and one of them is mine.

My primal scream should be

the scream of mothers everywhere.

It has been a hundred days.

It is time to release the hostages.

Bring them home.

Bring every single one of them home.

Bring back our girls.

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