on the hill

Sheryl Sandberg screens 10/7 sexual violence documentary on Capitol Hill

Bipartisan group of lawmakers attend screening of ‘Screams Before Silence’

John Lamparski/Getty Images

Sheryl Sandberg visits "America's Newsroom" at Fox News Channel Studios on April 26, 2024 in New York City.

A bipartisan, bicameral coalition of lawmakers came together at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday to host former Facebook/Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg for a screening of her new documentary on the sexual violence against Israeli women on Oct. 7.

Nearly two dozen lawmakers were spotted at the “Screams Before Silence” screening, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA). Addressing the audience, Schumer heaped praise on Sandberg for making the film, saying the tech executive was doing a service to Oct. 7 victims and Jewish people. 

“I remember when there were Holocaust deniers back in the 90s, Steven Spielberg did ‘Schindler’s List’ and put a dagger right through the lies of those Holocaust deniers. Well, Sheryl’s film does the same thing. To all those who said, ‘Oh no, it wasn’t terrible’ and all that, this film graphically shows the horror, the despicableness and the depravity of Hamas,” Schumer said.

Schumer added that there was “no better antidote” than Sandberg’s documentary to the International Criminal Court’s “despicable” decision to issue arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

“Two days after the ICC [targets Israel], the people watch this and they see how despicable any comparison of equivalence is,” he told Jewish Insider on the sidelines of the event.

Speaking to JI after the screening, Sandberg made note of the bipartisan turnout for the event.

“What I loved is how many members showed up and how many members stayed. No one walked out the entire time,” Sandberg told JI.

“Everyone here is in different places on that issue, but the thing is, there’s no other side to this issue. There’s one side, which is that rape is not resistance,” she added. “Rape can never be resistance. And for the deniers out there, the thing you see in the film and you can bear witness to yourself is these people don’t know each other, these were multiple people in multiple locations. This was just a very systemic terror.”

Sandberg told eventgoers that she hadn’t initially planned on attending a D.C. screening of the film, nor was hosting one at the Capitol a major priority. It was Wasserman Schultz who convinced her to take part in the gathering.

Wasserman Schultz, who alongside Ernst and Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) has championed the effort to highlight the stories of women’s experiences on Oct. 7, told JI she urged Sandberg to hold a screening at the Capitol with a bipartisan audience because of the credibility it would give the film.

“It was just really incredibly important when I heard about her film, she had shown it in New York and other places and there was a lot of buzz about it,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Using the platform of the United States Capitol – the greatest pinnacle of democracy in the world and the place where we can shine the kind of spotlight that is so necessary on the plight of the women that had sexual and gender based violence perpetrated against them, who had been disbelieved as a result of antisemitism as Kathy Manning said – it was just critical that we have a showing here.”

“I really felt it was important that Sheryl join us because it would make it that much more powerful that people could hear firsthand from her, and not only for the draw that she would be, but just that we had an opportunity to really use this platform in the Capitol to make sure that we can bust open the misinformation and disinformation and antisemitism that’s been the cause of all this,” she added.

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