Clip from video of Soussana being abducted on October 7th

Amit Soussana, a 40-year-old Israeli lawyer, courageously became the first Israeli hostage to publicize the sexual abuse she endured while being held captive by Hamas, as reported by The New York Times. Amit's ordeal began immediately upon her capture, with abuse escalating rapidly. Over her 55-day captivity, alongside 105 other hostages, she experienced not only sexual assault but also physical violence. Despite her release, Amit remains deeply traumatized by the abuse, which was perpetrated by a captor she identified only as ‘Muhammad’.

Amit's kidnapping from Kibbutz Kfar Azza, located perilously close to the Gaza border, was widely circulated on social media. The videos depicted a distressing scene of Hamas gunmen aggressively subduing her in an effort to prevent her escape during the attacks on October 7. The detailed accounts of her abuse include being molested and sexually assaulted by ‘Muhammad’ in a house in Gaza, which served as a makeshift detention center.

The assaults included invasive groping and forced sexual acts, often under the immediate threat of violence, using a firearm to coerce compliance. In one particularly heinous incident, Amit described how ‘Muhammad’ forced her into a sexual act at gunpoint after allowing her to take a bath, a chilling testament to the psychological and physical torture she endured.

Throughout her captivity, ‘Muhammad’ exhibited a perverse interest in Amit's personal life and body, subjecting her to further humiliation and degradation. This abuse extended beyond Amit, with evidence suggesting a systematic pattern of sexual violence against hostages. Despite a brief expression of remorse from ‘Muhammad’, the relocation to a different hideout did not end Amit's suffering. She faced assaults by multiple guards in various locations, including Hamas tunnels, leading to significant physical injuries.

Hamas has publicly disputed these allegations, claiming adherence to religious principles that sanctify the human body and forbid such mistreatment. However, a vast array of evidence contradicts these claims, including firsthand accounts, eyewitness testimonies like that of former Hostage Mia Schem, crime scene photos shared by Zaka volunteer Professor Halperin-Kaddari to the Ontario legislature including Canadian MP Goldie Ghamari who recalled the images in horrific detail on Bryan Cunningham's popular X Space last Friday, and forensic evidence that unequivocally supports the victims' stories.

This case highlights a grave human rights issue within the context of the ongoing conflict, underscoring the urgent need for accountability and protection for all individuals caught in such dire circumstances. The international community's response to these atrocities, including the UN's acknowledgment of "clear and convincing information" of sexual violence against hostages, calls for a concerted effort to address and prevent such violations.

The situation remains dire, with approximately 130 hostages still in Hamas custody and ongoing negotiations for their release and a ceasefire showing little progress. The broader conflict has exacted a heavy toll, with significant civilian casualties reported on both sides. Amit Soussana's bravery in sharing her story serves as a stark reminder of the human cost of conflict and the imperative to uphold human dignity and rights for all.

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