What’s so important about the UN’s new report confirming Oct. 7 rapes, torture of Israeli women?

Pramilla Patten
The United Nations' Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten (centre), tours Kibbutz Be'eri on Feb. 7 to meet eyewitnesses and survivors of the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7. (Photo courtesy of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Warning: This episode contains descriptions of sexual violence against women, and may be disturbing to some listeners.

On March 4, days before International Women’s Day, the office of the UN’s Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict released their long-awaited report on what happened to Israeli women near Gaza on Oct. 7. The report paints a gruesome picture of what happened to some of the 300 Israeli women who were attacked and killed by Hamas—and also warns that hostages still being held in Gaza are likely still being rape and tortured.

The UN’s fact-finding mission to Israel took place last month, with the blessing of the Israeli government. And the resulting 23-page report is important for a whole host of reasons. Supporters say it spells out, for the first time—despite repeated denials by Hamas and their supporters—”clear and reasonable grounds” to believe rapes, and even gang rapes, happened that day. It also cites “clear and convincing” grounds sexual violence happened to hostages—then, and even now.

On today’s episode of The CJN Daily, we speak to Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, a professor and Israeli legal expert on women’s rights, who helped make this report happen. She was in Toronto.

What we talked about


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.