Conservative MP Nicola Richards joined the deputy mayor of Jerusalem and protesters who posed in blood-soaked trousers, to speak out at a protest held in front of the BBC headquarters.
The rally, organised by grassroots organisation 7/10 Human Chain Project, called upon media outlets such as the BBC, as well as women’s groups to address more strongly the ongoing plight of the 14 female hostages still held by Hamas.
Attendees held up banners and posters of hostages, and used their voices to amplify the message that rape is never ‘a form of resistance’, and that the silence of media and women’s groups is unacceptable.
It also called for an end to the general ‘culture of silence’ regarding the gender-based and sexual violence prevalent in this conflict.
Speaking at the event was Nicola Richards, Conservative MP for West Bromwich East. She said, “My generation have been silent for so long, and this is exactly why I will not be silent. As women we know what it feels like to feel vulnerable. We are usually good at standing shoulder to shoulder against gender based violence. Hamas raped women and then murdered them, they used rape as a weapon of war. Those who decide to stay silent about the sexual assaults of Hamas are continuing the very disrespect to Jewish women that Hamas attempted in their butchering and rape.”
The deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, who also spoke at the event, said: “For the last few decades, we lobbied the world to believe and support women who were victims of abuse. It seems we advanced the cause for everyone – except Israeli women. On October 7 the men of Hamas very clearly demonstrated that they had no boundaries or limits when it comes to rape, sexual violence, degradation and brutality towards women.
“We all know that right now, there are 14 women (from age 18 upwards) being held captive by this terrifying group of men. We all know that they have been their captives for almost four months now. We all know that these women could be being routinely raped by their captors – and yet still the Women’s Groups, the BBC and others stay silent.”
The rally took place a few days after an event held at Parliament which featured a range of informed speakers who provided searing insights into the tragic experiences of sexual violence during the attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists on October 7th.
Also speaking at Sunday’s rally was Ayelet Razin Bet Or, human rights lawyer and leader of the advocacy group to the United Nations regarding the 07/10 sex crimes.
Ayelet, the former director of the Authority For The Advancement of The Status Of Women, said: “In the face of the most violent and widespread gender-based violence in recent history, it has started to feel like we are experiencing a certain form of silencing and gaslighting around this issue. Many who should be committed to impartiality and accountability appear to be engaging in this.
“It feels as though these Israeli women have been abandoned, and their story is not worthy to be told. Silenced by politics, their pain, suffering, and abuse has not been put into context. This generation has come so far in its bid to believe survivors of sexual assault. This issue goes beyond politics. Being silent is not an option. In the face of terror, silence is complicity, and we must not be quiet.”
Organisers of the rally, 7/10 Human Chain Project, are a grassroots organisation advocating for the Israeli hostages.
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