'I was sexually assaulted in Hamas captivity,' ex-hostage Amit Soussana goes public with her story

Released hostage told the New York Times that she was sexually assaulted by one of her captors and was also beaten; She decided to go public with her traumatic story to tell her story to raise awareness about the plight of the hostages remaining in Gaza

Former Gaza hostage Amit Soussana, an Israeli lawyer, testified in an interview with the New York Times that she was sexually assaulted while in captivity. Her testimony includes difficult descriptions of sexual violence and cruelty.
“He came toward me and shoved the gun at my forehead,” Soussana recalled during eight hours of interviews with The New York Times in mid-March. Her captor forced her to remove her towel after allowing her to wash herself for the first time in weeks, groped her, sat her on the edge of the bathtub and hit her.
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עמית סוסנה
עמית סוסנה
Amit Soussana outside her destroyed home in Kfar Aza
(Photo: REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini)
He dragged her at gunpoint back to the child’s bedroom, which was covered in posters of the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants, according to Soussana.
“Then he, with the gun pointed at me, forced me to commit a sexual act on him,” Soussana said.
He later cried and told her: "I’m bad, I’m bad, please don’t tell Israel.”
She is the first released hostage to speak publicly about the sexual violence she experienced.
Soussana’s personal account of her experience in captivity is consistent with what she told two doctors and a social worker less than 24 hours after she was freed on Nov. 30. Their reports about her account state the nature of the sexual act; The newspaper agreed not to disclose the specifics.
Soussana said she had decided to speak out now to raise awareness about the plight of the hostages still in Gaza, as negotiations for a cease-fire seem to have fallen apart.
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עמית סוסנה
עמית סוסנה
Amit Soussana speaks outside of her urned home in Kfar Aza
(Photo: REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini)
In her chilling testimony, Soussana says that a few days after she was abducted from her home in Kfar Aza, a terrorist who identified himself as Muhammad began asking her about her sex life. She said that she was then kept alone in a children's room, chained by her ankle to the window frame. Sometimes the terrorist who was guarding her entered the room, sat down next to her on the bed then lifted her shirt and touched her.
The terrorist repeatedly asked her when her period was expected. Soussana testified that when her period ended, around October 18, she tried to stop him from sexually assaulting her by pretending the bleeding continued for an entire week. According to her, the severe sexual assault she described occurred a few days later, around October 24.
“He sat me on the edge of the bath. And I closed my legs. And I resisted. And he kept punching me and put his gun in my face,” Ms. Soussana said. “Then he dragged me to the bedroom.”
Soussana, 40 was abducted from her home in Kfar Aza after hiding in a closet in the secure room. Before that, she had time to write to her family that the terrorists were "outside" and that she could hear gunshots. Soussana's small apartment was completely burned down. At the time of her abduction, Sosna was seen on video bravely fighting seven kidnappers and even knocking one of them to the ground who tried to lift her on his shoulder. The kidnappers attempted to restrain her by beating her and wrapping her in a white fabric, the video shows. Unable to subdue her, the attackers tried and failed to carry her by bicycle. Finally, they bound her hands and feet and dragged her into Gaza, she said.
In a January interview with the Reuters news agency, Soussana told about the "physical and psychological terror" she went through during the entire 55 days she was held captive, until her release as part of the deal with Hamas in November. Soussana said that during her captivity she was moved from one place to another under heavy guard by Hamas terrorists, and that she was held, among other things, in a tunnel 40 meters below the ground, where it was difficult to breathe. According to her, she felt as if she had been buried alive.
"When you're in Hamas captivity, everything is just so fragile. You're constantly on the edge. Things can go drastically wrong every second. You're not allowed to speak, not allowed to cry, not even allowed to comfort each other when times get really bad," she said. " I had no control over my body or my soul, it was scary."
"I hope that the remaining hostages there are able to keep their faith alive and stay strong. But even the toughest souls can't hold on for such a long time," she also said.
Three weeks after her kidnapping, Soussana was united with four other hostages. Days later the guards wrapped her head in a pink shirt, forced her to sit on the floor, handcuffed her, and began beating her with the butt of a gun, she told the Times.
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פרמילה פאטן, שליחת האו"ם לנושאי אלימות מינית באזורי סכסוך בביקור בישראל
פרמילה פאטן, שליחת האו"ם לנושאי אלימות מינית באזורי סכסוך בביקור בישראל
UN envoy on sexual violence Pramila Patten
((Photo: Yafit Iliagoyev, Foreign Ministry))
After several minutes, they used duct tape to cover her mouth and nose, tied her feet, and placed the handcuffs on the base of her palms, she said. Then she was suspended, hanging “like a chicken” from a stick stretching between two couches, causing her intense pain that she felt that her hands would soon be dislocated.
They beat her and kicked her and threatened to poke her eye out with a spike.
“It was like that for 45 minutes or so,” she said. “They were hitting me and laughing and kicking me, and called the other hostages to see me.”
Soussana gave her testimony to the United Nations team headed by Pramila Patten that published the report on sexual violence. The report confirms evidence of sexual violence taking place during the terror group’s October 7 attack. Additionally, the report confirms that female hostages held by Hamas in Gaza were subjected to sexual violence, and there are concerns these crimes are ongoing.

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