A new report by NIF partner Physicians for Human Rights–Israel (PHRI) uses evidence gathered to confirm that sexual violence was used as a weapon of war by Hamas and calls to center the physical and emotional needs of the victims of the violence.

The report is based on survivor and eyewitness testimonies, accounts by emergency and security personnel, and other verified visual evidence online. PHRI writes that its main reason for publishing the report is because that’s its duty:

As a human rights organization morally driven to defend the right to health of all people living between the river and the sea, our professional obligation is to investigate, analyze, and acknowledge any violation of this right. This position paper highlights the sexual and gender-based violence committed during the October 7 Hamas attacks. Our primary concern in doing so is addressing the pain and the physical and emotional needs of the victims of the violence – and those who witnessed it – on their long road to healing.

The report makes recommendations for how legal and societal institutions should handle these cases—how they can best address the needs of survivors and eyewitnesses in a way that centers their humanity and their need for empathy and support. PHRI also makes the case that these acts should be prosecuted as crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court.

PHRI writes, “As members of the health and human rights communities, it is our duty to stand with the victims. As a society, we must be willing to acknowledge the sexual violence perpetrated on October 7, 2023. We must break the cycles of silence and shame and foster the space and conditions to support the healing of survivors.”

If you would like to access the report, you can do so here. However, please be aware that it includes graphic and uncensored accounts of sexual violence, and reader discretion is advised.