Shocking evidence of conflict-related sexual violence in new documentary: Screams Before Silence

Cape Town, Thursday 02 May 2024: A harrowing new documentary, ‘Screams Before Silence’, shows the brutality and scale of the sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas, leaving the viewer with no room for doubt or denial as to what took place on Oct 7.

The documentary is available to watch for free on YouTube.

“Every single person who is concerned about the proliferation of conflict-related sexual violence, wherever and by whom it is perpetrated, needs to watch this documentary,” says Angie Richardson, spokesperson for the Women’s Action Campaign SA.

“Increasing first-hand witness testimony, Hamas’ video footage, forensic evidence, and a growing body of testimonies by hostages released from Gaza and surviving victims only add to what we, as reasonable and compassionate people, should acknowledge – that Hamas used sexual violence as part of its attack on Israeli citizens on 07 October 2023.”

A UN report has confirmed that rape, including gang rape, occurred during the Oct 7 massacre and that hostages were raped and subjected to sexual abuse while being held in Gaza.

Despite this, and as the body of evidence grows, many continue to deny, discredit or distort the events of Oct 7. In one of the preliminary reports into the sexual violence that occurred on Oct 7 by the Association of Rape Crisis Centres in Israel, the authors note that “there is an acute need for explanations and concrete descriptions in words that can break the bond of silence and silencing.”

Sheryl Sandberg, former CEO of Meta and founder of, heard this call to amplify the voices (the screams) of Israeli women who have been forever silenced.

In Screams Before Silence, released to the public on 26 April 2024, Sandberg interviews multiple eyewitnesses, released hostages, first responders, medical and forensic experts, and survivors of the Hamas massacres. The 60-minute, presenter-led documentary contains footage from verified sources. Still, out of respect for the victims and their families, as well as fulfilling YouTube’s content requirements, it does not show anything explicit.

Rather, witnesses, first responders and experts provide testimony, corroborated by forensic evidence, that paints a harrowing picture of the scale and depraved nature of the atrocities, making it clear that the use of rape, gang rape and sexual violence was premeditated and used as a weapon to strip Israeli women of their dignity and their lives.

In explaining why she produced the documentary, Sandberg told the New York Times, “I’ve spent my life building businesses, and separately, I’ve spent much of my life fighting for women. And I never thought I was going to work on antisemitism. I didn’t think it was a problem and was absolutely wrong. And I never thought that politics could make any group or feminist leader turn a blind eye to just such clear documentation of sexual violence.”

Witnesses describe how they heard women screaming and pleading, “Please stop, stop, stop.” At the site of the Nova Festival massacre, first responders found women tied to trees, stripped, with their legs spread and blood running down their legs.

“They inserted all kinds of things into their intimate organs, like wooden boards, iron rods. Over 30 girls were murdered and raped here,” Rami Davidan, a first responder volunteer, said. He painfully recalls having to “close their legs and cover their bodies so no one else would see what I saw. No one can see those kinds of things.”

These testimonies are only some of many. Mirit Ben Mayor, Chief Superintendent of the Israeli Police, states they have “over 200,000 visuals and over 2000 testimonies”. They show “substantial evidence of sexual violence.”

Haim Otmagazin, a ZAKA first responder volunteer, added: “When you see one woman and another and another all with signs of abuse in the groin area, you understand that this wasn’t a random thing.”

This sexual violence didn’t end on Oct 7. Released hostages and those that remain in captivity endure ongoing abuse by their captors, with many being molested and raped.

Prof. Itai Pessach, who heads up the medical team caring for returned hostages, has stated that his team is preparing for pregnancies as a result of rape.

Richardson says: “This is a hard documentary to watch. But it must be watched. This is the least we can do. No survivor of sexual violence should feel obligated to ‘serve’ the world’s demand for information, yet this is what we demand of Israeli women.  The choice of whether to speak, what to disclose, when, and how should be theirs. But in the polarised and distorted context in which the Israel-Hamas war is being narrated, Israeli women have been left with little choice. We owe them the respect to, in the least, believe them. This is, after all, what #metoo and many others fighting Gender-Based violence demand.”

• Read the May 2024 issue – Click here to start reading.

• To advertise in the Cape Jewish Chronicle and on this website – kindly contact Lynette Roodt on 021 464 6736 or email For more information and advertising rate card click here.

• Sign up for our newsletter and never miss another issue.

• Please support the Cape Jewish Chronicle with a voluntary Subscription for 2024. For payment info click here.

• Visit our Portal to the Jewish Community to see a list of all the Jewish organisations in Cape Town with links to their websites.

Follow the Cape Jewish Chronicle: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here