‘Rape is not resistance’: London rally calls for release of women held by Hamas

Dozens of protesters gather near BBC offices to draw attention to sexual violence perpetrated by terrorists against hostages held in Gaza since October 7

Pro-Israeli demonstrators gather to highlight the plight of hostages held in Gaza and decry Hamas's rape and sexual attacks against women on October 7, outside the BBC headquarters in London, February 4, 2024. (Soha Kamran Anwar/ AFPTV / AFP)

Several dozen people rallied in London on Sunday to draw attention to women held hostage by the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip since October 7, and to the issue of sexual violence.

According to Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, between 17 and 20 women and girls are still being held by the Islamist terror group since its brutal October 7 attack on Israel, during which thousands of terrorists killed some 1,200 people and seized over 250 hostages, mostly civilians.

“All we know is that every day that they remain in captivity their condition gets worse and there’s less of a chance that they’ll come out,” she said.

She said that she has met mothers of captives who fear that, after 18 weeks, some may be pregnant from rapes they might have been subject to.

“We need to get them out now so that we can do something about it,” she said.

Banners saying “Rape is not resistance” were waved at the rally, and some protesters wore sweatpants with stains between their legs.

The march was held near the offices of the BBC, which the organizers of the march feel has not done enough to cover alleged sexual violence during Hamas’s deadly rampage.

Protesters wearing fake blood make-up and holding placards take part in a demonstration “Rape is NOT resistance” outside the BBC headquarters, in London, on February 4, 2024 to bring attention to the plight of the kidnapped Israeli women in Gaza who have been held by Hamas for over 120 days. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP)

Reports of rape and sexual violence have multiplied since October 7, and at the start of December, Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said Hamas used rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Hamas has denied this, despite substantive accounts detailing the systematic sexual violence perpetrated against Israeli women and girls by Palestinian terrorists on October 7, including interviews with more than 150 witnesses, medical personnel, first responders, soldiers, rape counselors, and government officials, along with the scanning of video footage, photographs and GPS data from cellphones.

It is believed that 132 hostages abducted by Hamas on October 7 remain in Gaza — not all of them alive — after 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity during a weeklong truce in late November. Four hostages were released prior to that, and one was rescued by troops. The bodies of eight hostages have also been recovered and three hostages were mistakenly killed by the military.

The IDF has confirmed the deaths of 29 of those still held by Hamas, citing new intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza. One more person is listed as missing since October 7, and their fate is still unknown.

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