Monday, Feb 26th

Amy Paulin Jumpstarts Campaign for Awareness of Rape and Sexual Atrocities Committed on Israeli Women During Oct 7

PaulinUNAmy Paulin Outside the United NationsIn the time since the October 7th terrorist attacks in Israel, overwhelming evidence has emerged that Hamas attackers perpetrated widespread acts of rape and sexual atrocities against Israeli women.

During November 2023, NYS Assemblywoman and Scarsdale resident Amy Paulin travelled to Israel and met with the families of victims and hostages. “I was shocked that the horrific sexual violence which happened to Israeli women on October 7 was getting virtually no coverage in the media,” said Paulin. “During the attack, women were targeted by Hamas and brutally raped and mutilated before being murdered. It wasn’t enough for Hamas to just murder women. They used rape and sexual violence as a weapon to cause additional pain and suffering to those they killed and the surviving families. The questions the families kept asking me were ‘Where is the international community, the UN, and the International Red Cross? Why isn’t this being depicted in the media? Is this just being ignored because the women are Israeli? Or because they are Jewish?’”

While still in Israel Paulin began work on a statement to bring awareness and attention to what had happened to Israeli women. As soon as she came back to the U.S. from Israel “I immediately reached out to NOW-NYC and other prominent women’s groups to let them know what I had seen,” said Paulin. “[Westchester District Attorney and Scarsdale resident] Mimi Rocah was a great partner in this effort.” Together, Paulin and Rocah attended a UN Conference on this issue on December 4 sponsored by Sheryl Sandberg, where Israelis on the ground post-attack gave eyewitness testimony and evidence of the sexual atrocities which were committed. “It was devastating to listen and see video footage of what happened, but we must make sure history is accurately reflected,” said Paulin. “Rape is a war crime and needs to be prosecuted as such – and without firsthand evidence there will always be deniers. What happened in Israel went beyond rape, and the prosecution of these militants, which must happen, needs to reflect the full scope of their horrific acts.”

There is also testimony from recently released hostages that sexual abuse is still happening to female Israeli hostages, and there is an outcry for the International Rescue Committee to intervene, obtain access and ultimately gain the release of the hostages.

“As a prosecutor who has fought for sex crime victims for decades, I know it is critical to speak out and acknowledge what we can see with our own eyes in the pictures of bloody and mutilated bodies of women,” said Rocah. “Silence, or worse denial, of this violence, causes further pain to victims and women everywhere. We must use our voices and demand the immediate release of all the hostages and real accountability for the perpetrators of these horrific crimes."

Here is the statement spearheaded by Paulin, signed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul, women’s rights leaders, and hundreds of individuals, which calls attention to the rape and other war crimes that occurred on Oct. 7th and demands a full investigation, accountability, and the release of all hostages. This statement has been delivered to António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Paulin, who is a sponsor of many bills protecting women from sexual violence, continues to push for broader UN condemnation of the sexual atrocities committed by Hamas, and for the International Red Cross to respond to the needs of the hostages.

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