Skip to main content

‘Silence is complicity:’ Sheryl Sandberg speaks out on allegations of Hamas sexual violence

At the UN headquarters in New York, Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, slammed the organization UN Women for its reluctance to acknowledge the sexual crimes perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli women on Oct. 7.
Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook, speaks during a session at the Congress centre on the second day of the World Economic Forum, on January 18, 2017.

Former Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, a longtime advocate for women and girls, spoke out at an assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday, highlighting the sexual and gender-based violence committed by Hamas fighters on Israeli women and girls during the militant group's Oct. 7 attack on Israel. 

"Silence is complicity," Sandberg said, adding that "rape should never be used as an act of war.”

US lawmakers, foreign diplomats, senior United Nations officials and other nongovernment stakeholders participated in the event hosted by Israel’s envoy to the UN, Gilad Erdan, and organized as part of a campaign championed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry and an independent commission formed by a group of 15 Israeli women. Israeli officials have for weeks taken aim at the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, for failing to call out Hamas for using rape and sexual violence as a weapon against Israeli women and girls. 

Before the event, Erdan posted on the social platform X that "the UN and its organizations completely ignored [the Oct. 7 Hamas attack and gender-based violence] for almost 60 days and still cast doubt on [it]."

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.