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Women’s Rights Are Human Rights—Rape Cannot Be a Weapon of War

We are horrified not only by the atrocities committed by Hamas in Israel on October 7, 2023, including brutal, violent sexual assault and rape of women and girls but also by the failure in too many quarters to condemn these acts. Those hostages still being held and subjected to continued abuse must be released. Silence is whitewashing the gravity of these crimes and sending a message that women are battlefields, and the dehumanization and degradation of their bodies are legitimate. This is wrong. It is grotesque. And it threatens women’s safety and progress around the world. 

We call on all advocates for women’s rights and women’s equality to condemn the use of rape and sexual sadism against women and girls conducted by Hamas on October 7th in Israel, and to demand the hostages are immediately released.

Debates about the geo-political aftermath of this horrific attack should not obscure this important fact: Women’s bodies are not battlefields. Rape and mutilation must be universally condemned without equivocation. Those who orchestrated and carried out the mass rapes in Israel on October 7th should be brought to justice for war crimes. The brutal, violent, sexual assault, including rape of women and girls, that occurred on October 7th has to be more loudly and consistently remembered and condemned. 

All women’s organizations, indeed, any non-terrorist organization should be clamoring for the release of those still held captive. World leaders must send the message that rape is not a legitimate weapon of war, rather it is a war crime, and that violence against women is unacceptable.    

Continued silence signals apathy to this ongoing hostage problem and an indifference to the cause of women’s rights and equality. 

We urge you to use your platforms and sign this petition to loudly and clearly stand up for women and against those who would use rape and sexual assault to demean, abuse, and terrorize women and girls.