Former Hostage Describes Being Coerced into Performing Sexual Acts under Threat of Gun

Former Hostage Describes Being Coerced into Performing Sexual Acts under Threat of Gun

Released Gaza Hostage Amit Soussana gave her personal testimony of the sexual violence and physical abuse she endured in Hamas captivity during an eight-hour interview with the New York Times, which was published on Tuesday.

This makes Amit Soussana the first released hostage to give a direct testimony of sexual atrocities committed by Hamas.

Soussana previously made headlines when a video surfaced of the moment of her capture, where she fought off seven Hamas terrorists before being brought to Gaza, where she remained in captivity for 54 days.

In the interview, Soussanna recalled being held hostage in a child’s bedroom in Gaza with a chain attached to her left ankle. She said that occasionally, the Hamas terrorist in charge of guarding her, whom she named Muhammad, would sit beside her on the bed, lift up her shirt, and grope her.

Demonstrators gather during a protest the crimes and sexual violence against women in October 7 massacre, outside of United Nations headquarters in New York City, on December 4, 2023. (credit: YAKOV BINYAMIN/FLASH 90)

She also said that Muhammad would constantly ask about her period, inquiring if she was bleeding, if she had washed herself since, and when it would end.

Then, sometime around October 24, Muhammad forced her to commit a sex act on him.

She said that that morning, he unlocked the chain around her ankle so she could wash herself in the bathtub. After she began, Muhammad returned with a pistol.

“He came towards me and shoved the gun at my forehead,” she recalled.

Muhammad hit her repeatedly to force her to take her towel off. After she did, Muhammad groped her before continuing to hit her.

Afterward, he dragged her back to the child’s room at gunpoint. She noted that the room was covered in images of SpongeBob Squarepants.

“Then, with the gun pointed at me, forced me to commit a sexual act on him,” Soussana said. After it was over, Muhammad left the room to wash up, leaving Soussana naked in the dark.

She also said that when he returned, he showed remorse, telling her, “I’m bad, I’m bad, please don’t tell Israel.”

She also recounted her moral quandary of accepting food from her abuser.

“You can’t stand looking at him—but you have to: He’s the one who’s protecting you, he’s your guard. You’re there with him, and you know that at any moment, it can happen again. You’re completely dependent on him,” she said.

Soussana then discussed her second captor, Amir, after she was transferred to a different location. On the day that she arrived at the new apartment, the Hamas terrorists wrapped her head in a pink shirt, forced her onto the floor, handcuffed her, and beat her with the butt of a gun, she said.

Minutes later, they suspended her “like a chicken: on a stick between two couches. She recalled that she felt that her hands would be dislocated due to the intensity of the pain.

While suspended, her new captors beat and kicked her, focusing on the soles of her feet while demanding information that she might’ve had on the enemy.

After that, she was untied and led to a new bedroom, where they told her she had 40 minutes to produce information or else they would kill her.

Hamas spokesperson denies the New York Times report

Hamas spokesperson Basem Naim filed a 1,300-word response to the New York Times regarding Soussanas’s testimony. In it, Naim cast doubt on her allegations and demanded the newspaper investigate them. He also noted that such an investigation would be impossible under “the current circumstances.”

In his response, Naim questioned why Soussana hadn’t spoken out publicly about the extent of her abuse until now. He said that the level of detail in her account makes it difficult to believe “unless some security officers designed it.”

He also ruled out the possibility that Hamas members could carry out such an act, as the human body is sacred to them.

“For us, the human body, and especially that of the woman, is sacred,” he said, claiming that Hamas’s religious beliefs “forbade any mistreatment of any human being, regardless of his sex, religion or ethnicity.”

Previous testimonies of rape committed by Hamas have been denied as well

This isn’t the first instance of denial of the sexual atrocities committed by Hamas. UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, submitted a special report to the UN Security Council stating, “We found clear and convincing information that sexual violence, including rape, sexualized torture, and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, has been committed against hostages, and we have reasonable grounds to believe that such violence may still be ongoing against those in captivity.”

The report was not classified as an investigation, and the UN Security Council met mid-March to debate the findings. The report has also faced severe backlash and denial on social media.

Many social media users deny any report of sexual violence committed by Hamas due to the time it has taken for anyone to come forward and give testimony. It is important to note that sexual crimes take a long time to come to the public eye after being reported, assuming they are properly investigated.

Additionally, many of the victims of Hamas’s sexual crimes either died in the October 7 massacre or are still held in captivity in Gaza.

Currently, there are 19 women still held hostage or whose bodies are still held in Hamas captivity: Naama Levy, Shani Louk, Noa Argamani, Romi Gonen, Arbel Yehud, Carmel Gat, Eden Yerushalmi, Doron Steinbrecher, Maya Goren, Ofra Kedar, Inbar Haiman, Liri Albag, Daniella Gilboa, Shiri Bibas, Karina Ariev, Agam Berger, Emily Damari, Amit Esther Buskila, and Judy Weinstein.

On Tuesday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog responded to the interview in a post on X, saying, “Amit Soussana speaks for all those who cannot speak. She speaks for all the victims of Hamas’ despicable sexual crimes and abuse. She speaks for all women everywhere.

The whole world has the moral duty to stand with Amit – and all the victims – in condemning Hamas’s brutal terror and in demanding the immediate return of all the hostages.”

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.

Source Reference

Latest stories