'I knew assault was coming,' freed hostage recounts horror

'I was kept in chains for 3 weeks, had to ask permission to use the bathroom,' Amit Soussna speaks openly about her captivity for the first time on camera in a soon to be released documentary

Amit Soussana, a former captive in Gaza held by Hamas, has publicly shared her experiences of sexual assault during her captivity in an interview with the New York Times. In her first on-camera testimony, she details her traumatic experience. "I was chained for three weeks in Gaza, they kept me in a really dark room - without the ability to move. Whenever I needed to go to the bathroom I had to ask for permission," Soussana shared in the documentary "Screams Before Silence", set to be released at the end of the month.
In the documentary, directed by Anat Stalinsky, Soussana also speaks about the terrorist who was her guard. "His name was Mohammed. He was sitting on the bed in front of me, in shorts, he lay down and I remember I couldn't look at him. I turned my gaze, I covered myself with a blanket so I wouldn't have to look at him. It made me feel really uncomfortable. He also kept asking if I like sex, if I like sex with my boyfriend. Each time I just chuckled and said: please, stop. I tried to change the subject. I knew he was planning something. I knew something bad was going to happen."
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עמית סוסנה
עמית סוסנה
Amit Soussana
(Photo: REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini)
She further added: "One day Mohammed came and gave me sanitary pads. He said 'blood blood'. After you get your period you will shower and wash your clothes. And he repeated it several times. And then I got my period. It only lasted one day, but I made him believe that the period lasted until I could no longer lie. He released me and took me to the kitchen, showed me a pot. I remember thinking: how can I avoid this? I have nothing to do."
Simona Steinbrecher, mother of the kidnapped Doron Steinbrecher, expressed her fears in an interview with Ynet, "I don't know what's happening with her. I'm afraid for her, for women, for everyone. Everyone needs to get out of there. The horrors that are happening there. We want them back - not in coffins". Jimmy Miller, cousin of Shiri Bibas who was kidnapped along with her two young children, also voiced his concerns: "There are abuses there, women and men. We don't know what the children are going through."

Warning - Graphic details ahead

In her testimony to the New York Times, which deeply disturbed the families of the kidnapping victims, Soussana recounted, "He (the terrorist) approached me, pushed his weapon towards my forehead - and hit me. He dragged me to a room decorated with children's posters - then he aimed his rifle at me, and compelled me to engage in a sexual act with him." According to her, the terrorist who was her custodian slept in a nearby room and would often enter the room where she was held wearing only his underwear. At times, he would sit next to her on the bed, then lift her shirt and touch her.
She described a severe sexual assault that allegedly took place around October 24. She recounted that in the early morning hours, the terrorist unchained her. He insisted that she shower, but she refused. He then led her to the kitchen, showed her a pot of boiling water on the stove, and took her to the shower, handing her the hot water to pour over herself.
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דיון בוועדת קידום מעמד האישה ושיוויון מגדרי על מצב הנשים החטופות בעזה
דיון בוועדת קידום מעמד האישה ושיוויון מגדרי על מצב הנשים החטופות בעזה
Mia Regev during her testimony
(Photo: Shalev Shalom)
She cleaned herself for a few minutes, then heard him standing at the bathroom door, urging her: "Hurry Amit, hurry." According to her, "I turned around, and saw him standing there - with a weapon." Amit said she tried to shield herself with a towel, but the terrorist struck her. "Amit, take it off," he demanded - and she had to obey, with the weapon in his hand. She lived in constant fear of another sexual assault.
Yarden Gonen, sister of captive Romy Gonen, voiced her frustration and despair at the Committee for the Advancement of Women and Gender Equality in the Knesset. "Where are you?", she implored. "Why do we even need to beg? I hear what is being said here and it's just a scratched disc repeating itself for 179 days. Why is no one waking up? Why are you letting my sister be there? What are we fighting for?".
Mia Regev, who was released from captivity, spoke emotionally about her experience: "Every day there is an emergency, every minute is important. Every girl there is undergoing some kind of sexual harassment. No matter how you try to gloss it over or change it. On October 7, as a citizen, I didn't understand why they didn't come to rescue me for hours, and neither do all the women who are there," she said.
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