Israel-Palestine conflict: Contributions on sexualised violence

After the news broke of Hamas’ attack on Israel on 7 October 2023, reports began to circulate about sexualised violence perpetrated primarily against Israeli women. As time went by, more harrowing reports of acts of brutality became public. We condemn these acts of sexualised violence in the strongest possible terms and are shocked by the manifest misogyny and cruelty the women were subjected to. We distance ourselves from all those who relativise these and other acts of sexualised violence and stand in solidarity with the victims and their fight for recognition and accountability. With this collection of contributions, we strengthen the voices of those who have thought deeply about the issue of sexualised violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

On 10 October, we released a statement, condemning the Hamas attack and the violence of the Israeli Defence Force against the population of Gaza. Now we want to amplify the voices of others, in particular of those who have thought deeply about the use of sexualised violence against women as a weapon and tactic of war in the context of the ongoing conflict. We share their words as a contribution to an issue that is relevant in all wars and armed conflicts: What does it say about governments and other institutions, about us as a society, when they, when we, remain silent about violence perpetrated against women? Why is it significant when feminist organisations hesitate to voice support for the women against whom this violence has been perpetrated?

For articles and interviews in German-language media and platforms, please visit the German version of this page.

If you would like to share a contribution to this topic with us, please write to with “SGBV” in the subject line. (Please send us only articles or contributions that are accessible without a subscription.) The articles appear only in the language in which they were published. PeaceWomen Across the Globe is not responsible for the content of the contributions.

Whatever your view of the Israel-Hamas war, rape is rape. To trivialise it is to diminish ourselves

But all that said, this isn’t some ghoulish competition, nor a zero-sum game where any empathy shown to dead Israelis somehow leaves less available for Palestinians. Collectively, our international institutions must be capable of keeping more than one wrong in mind at once. And individually, we should expect of ourselves what we ask of juries, judges and police every time they hear a rape case, which is not to unquestioningly believe every word, but to listen with compassion and an open mind. A war crime is a war crime, regardless of who committed it. And rape is rape, even when perpetrated against someone you secretly don’t want to think of as a victim. (Gaby Hinsliff, The Guardian)

Was heisst in diesen Zeiten feministische Solidarität?

Die Hamas hat am 7. Oktober systematisch sexualisierte Gewalt ausgeübt. Viele feministische Organisationen haben zu lange dazu geschwiegen. Doch auch in der Debatte darüber läuft vieles falsch. Ein persönlicher Essay. (Franziska Schutzbach, Republik)

Krieg gegen die Frauen: So funktionieren Vergewaltigungen als Waffe

Hamas-Kämpfer sollen am 7. Oktober in Israel Dutzende Frauen vergewaltigt und verstümmelt haben. Sexualisierte Gewalt im Krieg ist nicht neu, doch erst seit dem Bosnienkrieg gilt sie als Kriegstaktik. (Gina Bachmann und Raphaela Roth, NZZ am Sonntag)

Israeli women fight to break global silence on Hamas' sexual violence

As in so many other arenas, when it comes to exposing Hamas' gender-based violence on October 7, Israeli citizens stepped in where their government left a gaping void. (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Ha'aretz)

Sexualised violence: In war as in peace

At the moment, awareness of sexualised violence in conflicts is mostly focused on its strategic aspects. However, it is also vital to address systemic discrimination and violence against women in peacetime in order to ensure effective prevention and support for survivors. (Sara Fremberg, medica mondiale)

Sexual violence is an ancient and often unseen war crime. Is it inevitable?

Interview with Cochav Elkayam-Levy, an Israeli human rights lawyer who established and heads the Commission on Oct. 7 Crimes by Hamas Against Women and Children; Dr. Ranit Mishori, senior medical adviser for Physicians for Human Rights, and Kathleen Kuehnast, director of women, peace and security at the United States Institute of Peace, about the issue of conflict-related sexual violence. (NPR, Interview: Jill Langlois)