UN Study Finds “Reasonable Causes to Believe” Rapes by Hamas Occurred During Attacks on October 7

There are “reasonable grounds to believe” that rapes were committed during Hamas’ October 7 strikes on Israel, according to a UN assessment released this week. The UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, presented a report on Monday in which she claimed that rape had also occurred among the captives who were later transferred to Gaza.

In her assessment, Patten said that the authorities think “that such violence may be ongoing against those still held” in the Gaza Strip and that they have uncovered “clear and convincing information” that some hostages had been sexually assaulted. There are still more than 100 captives being held in Gaza.

The visit by UN representatives to southern Israel in February served as the basis for Patten’s report. She spent two and a half weeks in early February traveling to Israel and the West Bank with other specialists. The UN was criticized as well for taking too long to respond to the sexual assaults and rapes that Israel claims Hamas perpetrated on October 7.

According to the report, “the mission team found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that conflict-related sexual violence, including rape and gang-rape, occurred in multiple locations during the 7 October attacks, in light of the coordinated attack by Hamas and other armed groups against civilian and military targets throughout the Gaza periphery.”

According to the report, these incidents took place in at least three places: Kibbutz Re’im, Road 232, and the grounds of the Nova music festival.

According to the study, “at least two of these incidents involve the rape of women’s corpses, and the majority of these incidents involved victims who had been raped before being killed.”

Sexual assault victims were urged to come forward and provide testimony, but none did. Nonetheless, the mission’s participants had the opportunity to speak with witnesses and survivors of the October 7 assaults in addition to medical staff.

They saw 50 hours of film and 5,000 photos from the strikes. They also got the opportunity to speak with a few of the freed captives.