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THE SKIER SCRIBBLER

The student news site of Aspen High School

THE SKIER SCRIBBLER

The student news site of Aspen High School

THE SKIER SCRIBBLER

Sexual Assualt in Conflict: A Double Standard

Women+holding+signs+of+protest+outside+the+UN+Headquarters+in+Jerusalem+on+November+27%2C+2023.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Women holding signs of protest outside the UN Headquarters in Jerusalem on November 27, 2023.

As stated by the Global Fund for Women, “The ability to live free from violence is a basic human right.” Why should this be neglected when it comes to Israeli and Jewish women?
As stated by Me Too, “In 2017, the #MeToo hashtag went viral and woke up the world to the magnitude of the problem of sexual violence.” Why should this be neglected when it comes to Israeli and Jewish women, seven years later on October 7, 2024?
As stated by U.N. Women, “Violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, and the immediate and long-term physical, sexual, and mental consequences for women and girls can be devastating, including death.” Why should this be neglected for Israeli and Jewish women? Are they not seen as human enough to merit human rights?
On October 7, the highest number of Jewish people were murdered since the Holocaust, marking Israel’s deadliest day in its history. In addition to brutally murdering, injuring, and abducting Israeli citizens, Hamas terrorists raped Israeli women, whether they were dead or alive.
The United Nations universally recognizes rape in conflict as “a crime against humanity and a war crime.” This should be unequivocally true and held as the standard no matter the circumstances. However, across women’s organizations, a double standard has emerged concerning Jewish and Israeli women.
Almost 50 days after October 7, U.N. Women, a global organization claiming to be dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of all women, issued a delayed statement on Instagram condemning Hamas: “We condemn the brutal attacks by Hamas on October 7 and continue to call for immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages.”
They deleted their post, replacing it with a statement that omitted the condemnation of Hamas, accumulating various reactions globally.
“We have come so far in believing survivors of rape and assault in so many situations. Yet this time, many are ignoring the stories that these bodies tell us about how these women spent the last moments of their lives,” wrote Sheryl Sandberg in an opinion article for CNN regarding this issue.
The silence and delayed response by women’s organizations, particularly those who have been quick to speak out to condemn gender-based violence in past conflicts, such as with Nigerian girls, indicates their neglect of Israeli women. This dehumanizes Israelis, implying that their accounts are unworthy of belief.
The subsequent silence that followed Hamas’ barbaric acts of sexual assault on October 7, along with the continued sexual violence towards the hostages, needs to be addressed. The unwillingness to believe these victims, of which the majority are Jewish, encourages the stereotype that Jews are ‘untrustworthy.’ This absence of trust contributes to a cycle of antisemitism, which has seen a significant increase since October 7.
Reluctance to believe sexual assault testimonies from any human is never justified – regardless of one’s religion, nationality, or identity. In the fight for women’s rights, it is imperative for all individuals’ voices to be heard and trusted – the same standard should be withheld in the fight against antisemitism.

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About the Contributor
Quintessa Frisch, Editor-in-Chief
Quintessa Frisch is a junior at Aspen High School. This is her third year writing for the Skier Scribbler and has taken on the role of Editor-in-Chief. Quintessa is looking forward to incorporating more creative designs into the layout of the paper. She is interested in current local and national politics. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, specifically skiing and playing lacrosse.

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