On International Women’s Day and Every Day, Be a Powerful Voice for Women and Girls

March 8, 2024

On International Women’s Day and Every Day, Be a Powerful Voice for Women and Girls

By Carol Ann Schwartz

It’s International Women’s Day, and as Hadassah’s national president, I’m asking each person who reads this story to use your voice to speak out to help #EndTheSilence about the weaponization of sexual violence against women and girls by Hamas on October 7 and since. I hope you’ll be part of today’s big push for signatures on our petition to UN Secretary-General António Guterres. If you’ve already signed, help spread the word. If you haven’t yet, please do now, as part of a global call for justice.

On Monday, United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten issued a report on the heels of a 17-day fact-finding mission, providing evidence of “clear and convincing information” of rape and ongoing sexual violence against Israeli hostages, on top of the well-documented rapes and gang rapes of October 7.

Nearly five months since that day, it may feel like too little, too late. Yet more and more voices are joining ours, as we spread the truth about the groundswell of evidence. On Wednesday, I urged attendees at the ADL’s Never Is Now conference at the Javits Center in New York City to speak out with us to #EndTheSilence. And Hadassah will continue to demand that the UN seeks justice for the victims.

When people say it didn’t happen, we need to be loud and clear that it did happen.

So many of you will be speaking out today at more than a 160 Hadassah #EndTheSilence events across 32 states. At the same time, our global Hadassah community is taking action on behalf of the women and girls who were and continue to be brutalized, from participating in the Jerusalem Marathon wearing “I’m running to #EndTheSilence” T-shirts — including doctors and nurses from Hadassah hospitals — to rallies and events from Santiago to Luxembourg, Paris to Buenos Aires.

It gives me strength that what we’ve been doing is so important — that we’re there, that we’re speaking out, that we’ll continue to speak out. That’s part of the healing process for Israelis and for everyone.

It’s Women’s History Month, a time when we often focus on how Hadassah has made history, for women or by women. But right now, we’re living through a dark moment of history. And this moment requires us to call for justice, just as generations of Hadassah women before us have spoken out on behalf of women for 112 years. Right now, our voices couldn’t be more needed.

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