Domenica Cox, the 25-year-old Israeli woman who was recently freed after 50 days of captivity in a Hamas-run prison, is speaking out about the psychological warfare she endured at the hands of her captors.
In a recent interview with Israeli television, Cox described the psychological abuse she experienced in the prison, stating that she was constantly interrogated about her thoughts, views and opinions. In addition, she said her captors would change her cell location multiple times and deprive her of food, water, and medical assistance, suggesting that those tactics were used in an effort to break her spirit.
The captors also threatened to physically hurt her family in response to her refusal to cooperate with their demands. Cox said she was unyielding in her resistance, but it came with a price. “They tried very hard mentally to break me, but I think they failed,” she said.
Cox was freed a week ago as part of an agreement between the Israeli government and Hamas which included the exchange of prisoners and the release of several female detainees, including two of Cox’s family members.
Speaking about her ordeal, Cox said that while she remained strong throughout her captivity, these 50 days changed her both mentally and emotionally. She also said that her captors had manipulated her into believing that she was safe after a few weeks in prison, only to be confronted with the harsh reality that she was still a prisoner.
Comparing her captivity to a psychological “thumb screw,” Cox said she eventually realized that her captors hoped to gain a strategic advantage by isolating her away from friends, family, work and even the outside world. “It was like I had no control. The days were very long and the nights worse,” she said.
With her release, Domenica Cox is now headed home to reunite with her family and friends and begin the process of recovery. While her ordeal was certainly traumatic, her courage and resilience help to serve as an inspiration for individuals around the world facing similar difficult situations.