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    ‘My Greatest Fear Was Rape’: Freed French-Israeli Hostage Recounts Ordeal in Hamas Captivity

    ‘My Greatest Fear Was Rape’: Freed French-Israeli Hostage Recounts Ordeal in Hamas Captivity


    Mia Shem, the 21-year-old tattoo artist, who was among 250 people taken hostage during Hamas’s October 7 attacks on southern Israel said she feared rape when she was being held captive in the family home of her kidnapper in the Gaza Strip.

    Speaking to Israel’s Channel 13 Mia Shem said the only reason her kidnapper, affiliated with the Hamas terrorist group, did not rape her because his wife and kids were present. Mia Shem earlier said that she found some families who were working for Hamas. She said her “biggest fear” in captivity was rape.

    “There was a fear of rape, fear of dying. His wife was outside the room with the kids. That was the only reason he didn’t rape me,” Shem said, while adding that her captor did not take his eyes off her. Shem was abducted from the site of a desert rave party called the Supernova festival and was released under a truce agreement at the end of November.

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    Shem said she was kept in a dark room and forbidden from talking during her time in captivity. She said that she did not receive any medication or “painkillers” from her captors.

    Mia Shem became one of the prominent faces among the hostages as she was seen in a Hamas video urging Israel to rescue her – a move Israeli authorities have denounced as psychological warfare designed by Hamas to weaken Israel’s resolve.

    Shem’s accusations are in line with the accounts of sexual violence reported by survivors of the October 7 attack and are also similar to the accounts given by the freed hostages.

    Israeli officials have reiterated allegations that the militants who crossed over from the Gaza Strip on October 7 committed violent gang rape and genital mutilation, and engaged in sexual acts with children and corpses.

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    But the scarcity of survivor testimonies and the lack of forensic evidence make it difficult to assess their scale.

    Around 250 hostages were taken to the Gaza Strip by Hamas terrorists when they attacked southern Israel on October 7. The attack left around 1,140 people dead, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

    Some 129 hostages remain in captivity in Gaza. Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, following the October 7 attack. More than 21,500 people have been killed in its retaliatory assault in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

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  • Shankhyaneel SarkarShankhyaneel Sarkar is a senior subeditor at News18. He covers international aff…Read More

    Location: Jerusalem, Undefined

    first published: December 30, 2023, 08:35 IST

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