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Sophie Gregoire Weill

Oct. 7th: A Disturbing Absence Of Words From Women’s Empowerment Communities

Source: Shutterstock.
Source: Shutterstock.

My heart broke open when I discovered, progressively, I think as my own being would allow it — the sexual abuse part of October 7th.

I certainly felt rape and sexual violence was in there, perhaps not to that extent.
And many organizations that I would have expected a word, a response, or at least a  comment from, have remained silent.
I’m writing this blog on November 25th, as we seem to be advocating, largely and on a worldwide scale, the cessation of all violence to women. And here is now an example of what all the people that speak about, and write about this matter could use, or channel energy towards — to actually give an tangible and current example to their mission and service to the feminine.
I’m almost voiceless. So much of the conversation everywhere has been about the relevance or the irrelevance of October 7th -violation of all rights- response from the State of Israel. All the talk has been focusing on the war, the State, the pain Israel was apparently inflicting on others (does one even have the right to reclaim its own people?). Have we forgotten the initial atrocities? When and where are we talking about women raped, beheaded — of Jewish women with blood all over, of pelvic floors broken?
Where is this conversation happening now? Who will write this down so that it’s not only a drama, but also a counter-example? Who will write this down so that History remembers not only pieces of this dramatic month, but the whole thing?
Why have we spent so much ink to illustrate women being sexually harassed in corporations, industries or in the film-making industry — while we spend almost no time, no energy, on that part?
Is there any logic to this? Is this maybe that it’s easier to speak what’s presentable in words? Harder to voice the horror?
Or are those crimes simply concealed under this current worldwide rhetoric opposing two worlds?
Where are the #MeToo advocates, and women fighters?
Does it matter less when it is a war?
Does it matter less when it’s about Jewish girls and women?
What example are we giving to victims of sexual abuse? Are we implying a duty to silence?
UN Women as well as #MeToo International have not condemned the acts of October 7th so far. How should we interpret that?
These sexual crimes simply have to be publicly and officially acknowledged, and condemned. This has nothing to do with the Israeli response, for many reasons, but first and foremost because these things precisely happened before the State of Israel started a war against Hamas.
These crimes, are precisely the reason why the State of Israel, had to respond.
Sima Bahous, the director of UN Women, has started an investigation about the sexual crimes perpetrated on Jewish women on October 7th. This is a beginning, but this isn’t enough. There are witnesses, and bodies. There is evidence already. An investigation shouldn’t be a way to postpone official condemnations — and I hope it will not be.
As Orit Sulitzeanu, Director of The Association of help centers for sexual violence victims in Israel expressed, not acknowledging these crimes is betrayal to “woman kind” as a whole.
Sadly, many of these victims were murdered in the most atrocious ways. They will not be able to relate the story of what they endured. Some are still hostages and can’t convey the tragedy they have been through so far either. This is why we must give them a voice, a trace in history.
It is unaceptable that major organizations such as the CEDAW so far have decided to not publicly and clearly condemn Hamas — as it has in the past already condemned Hamas, already condemned non-State groups. One may remember the examples of womens conditions in Myanmar, or sexual violence against women in Nigeria for which a position was clearly taken.
It is, to me, unacceptable that organizations such as Women Deliver post about “current war crimes by Israel on Gaza population” but do not express themselves anyhow about what happened to Israeli women, and the foreign women that were abused there on October 7th — the day that has been the catalyst and foundation of all that follows.
Are we allowing politics to win over women’s rights?
Do these women of October 7th, not count?
Could everyone, whatever their side is now when it comes to Hamas-Israel, acknowledge those crimes?
As a therapist and simply as a women, I know that speaking and sharing for all the women survivors that were sexually abused on the dark Shabbat will become increasingly difficult as the international community is insidiously deciding to ignore, to negate what happened to them.
Under which law a certain type of sexual violence or rape would be inferior to others, and require less public attention or official acknowledgment?
Isn’t drawing dead naked raped women in streets, maybe as the symbolism of a people Hamas has wanted to severely undermine, an act of terror against women, against Israel, against the Jewish people in general that any public organization should harshly condemn?
My profound surprise goes beyond.
As a person that has been publicly followed for a few years on social medias as I share about personal development, women’s empowerment, trauma healing — most of the accounts I’m connected with on these platforms are from women of my age-range, sharing about the same topics too, often times working in the coaching, spiritual coaching or therapeutic industry.
So many of them have remained silent.
In this world, one posts and publishes about the right level of consent with your husband, about how one shouldn’t go too far too soon with a man if they want to be respected, or about how one must look for a bond that embodies emotional, intellectual and spiritual intimacy as much as the physical one. In this world, one shares teachings and healing modalities about the trauma one carries from the feminine lines including sexual abuse perpetrated on grandmothers, great grandmothers and beyond, about how “yoni eggs” as many other tools can be the way one reclaim their sexuality as belonging to themselves, and so much more — but on this, so many have remained silent.
Did what happen on October 7th matter less?
When will this become important enough to become an Instagram MEME?
I hope soon.
I hope we will not remain silent.
About the Author
Sophie is a French patrilineal Jew, currently studying at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem. After beginning her professional career as a strategy business consultant, she continued in the academics and studied anthropology. She currently works as a coach and therapist. Sophie has been published over the years in several web magazines and is also the author of two books.
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