Eryn London

End the Silence: International Women’s Day 2024

It is unbelievable that in 2024 I need to say: Rape is bad. Rape is not resistance. There is never a reason that rape is ok. 

But unfortunately, this does need to be said, even to or especially to those who have been fighting for women’s rights over the past decades. 

It is unbelievable that even with video proof from the rapists, testimonies from witnesses and victims, and testimonies from those who cared for the bodies of people who were also murdered – it took the United Nations 150 days to say that there is evidence that the rapes occurred. It took 150 days with this much evidence, what more needed to be shared? 

What message is this sending to Israeli and Jewish women about their personhood and their state of feeling safe in the world?

In England and Wales, only 1.3% of all rape charges end in conviction. We know that there are many reasons this is happening – people not coming to the authorities because they don’t think they could help, or out of shame and embarrassment, or that they will be not believed. And if the case does go to court, the victim/survivor needs to retell everything in front of a court and prove that what they experienced really happened. What message is this sending to women across the world who are not going to have their rapist show videos on social media joyfully telling the world of their horrendous behavior. 

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. Every year I see articles about why we no longer need a Women’s Day or Women’s month. If the day is to ensure and highlight that we need to be fighting for a world where women and girls are able to live with equality, safety and dignity. Where they are free from violence, harassment and oppression — then this day is absolutely necessary, and needs to be marked by all people. 

And on this international women’s day, I want to call out to those who stand with the importance of this day: 

Where are you in calling out that rape is not resistance, even when Israeli and Jewish women are raped? 

What are you in calling out that rape is a war crime? 

How are you being allies to the women and men who were raped and tortured? 

How are you helping to fight for those who are still being held in captivity by a group of people who had not shame in raping and mutilating people on video and sharing it with the world? I do not want to imagine what these past 5 months have been like or what they have been enduring. 

We stand here today to call on the world to stand up and say – rape is not resistance. 

May no person ever go through such an ordeal, and if God forbid they do, may the people and world around them fight for justice. May those who are being held in captivity be freed quickly and safely, and may they receive the help and healing they need. 

This was originally written for and read at “End the Silence: A Solidarity walk and talk for Israeli women victims of October 7” in Trinidad on 7 March 2023. The event was hosted by the Understanding Israel Foundation

About the Author
Rabbi Eryn London lives in London. She is a freelance Jewish educator, chaplain, and rabbi living in London. She is involved with a number of projects within the UK and the global Jewish community.
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