The Yazidi religious minority community in Iraq says 3,500 of its women and girls are still being held by Islamic State (IS), many being used as sex slaves.
The Yazidi women face torture, rape, forced marriage and were “sold” or given as “gifts” to ISIL fighters or their supporters in Iraq and Syria.
“Many of those held as sexual slaves are children, girls aged 14, 15 or even younger,” Amnesty’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, Donatella Rovera, said in a statement. “Hundreds of Yazidi women and girls have had their lives shattered by the horrors of sexual violence and sexual slavery in ISIL captivity.”
BBC Interviewed some of the girls who managed to escape the brutal horror of Islamic State violent sexual torture they unleash on their sex slaves.
What is most horrific, is Islamic State, and anyone affiliated with them are given instructive brochures on how to capture and torture sex slaves.
You see, according to the teachings in their religion, any infidel is fair game, and sex slaves are seen as merely booty and the spoils of jihad.
As Rev Dr Mark Durie points out in his recent article: Islamic revivalist Abul A‘la Maududi wrote in his influential and widely disseminated tract Human Rights in Islam that for Muslims to enslave their captives was “a more humane and proper way of disposing of them” than Western approaches.
Enslavement by Muslims, Abul A‘la Maududi argued, is preferable to the provisions of the Geneva Convention because of the value of this policy for fuelling the growth of Islam.
The Qur’an itself endorses having sex with captive women (Sura 4:24).
The women and girls are bought and sold as sex slaves, they are forced into ‘marriage’ and they are held to ransom. With money, some families may have hope of getting their little girls back.
But, of course, families who have left everything they own and fled for refuge amidst violent conflict, they do not have much to offer their daughter’s captors.
Two Yazidi women have told of the unimaginable cruelty they suffered at the hands of ISIS fighters who kept them as their sex slaves after raiding their homes in Iraq.
One, a 19-year-old mother, says she allowed her first captor who ‘bought her’ to rape her ‘whenever he wanted’ because he would beat her one-year-old baby son if she resisted. Her son was the only thing stopping her from taking her own life. Her second jailer raped an elderly mother and her daughter.
The second woman, 25, was sold again and again to a string of cruel fanatics who tied her to the bed and drugged her with morphine to keep her ‘silent’. She was beaten so badly that she could not walk for two months.
You can find their full stories here.
The travesty of this situation, is that many of the girls and women feel there is no way out of this horrifying hell but to take their own lives.
In an article published a number of months ago highlighted the Yazidi girls’ stories:
A 19-year-old named Jilan committed suicide out of fear she would be raped, Amnesty quoted her brother as saying.
A girl who was held with her but later escaped confirmed the account, saying: “One day we were given clothes that looked like dance costumes and were told to bathe and wear those clothes. Jilan killed herself in the bathroom.”
“She cut her wrists and hanged herself. She was very beautiful; I think she knew she was going to be taken away by a man and that is why she killed herself.”
Wafa, a former captive told Amnesty how she and her sister attempted to end their lives after their captor threatened them with forced marriage.
“We tied the scarves around our necks and pulled away from each other as hard as we could, until I fainted… I could not speak for several days after that” Wafa said.
You can watch a video about their stories here:
Many Yezidi survivors are doubly affected as they are also struggling to cope with the loss of dozens of their relatives who either remain in captivity or have been killed by the IS.
“The physical and psychological toll of the horrifying sexual violence these women have endured is catastrophic. Many of them have been tortured and treated as chattel. Even those who have managed to escape remain deeply traumatized,” said Donatella Rovera.
“The Kurdistan Regional Government, UN and other humanitarian organizations who are providing medical and other support services to survivors of sexual violence must step up their efforts. They must ensure they are swiftly and proactively reaching out to all those who may need them, and that women and girls are made aware of the support available to them,” said Donatella Rovera.
In the face of such barbarity, there are women standing up to ISIS.
Nareem resigned as a journalist so she can dedicate 100% of her time in helping the girls who have been kidnapped as slaves.
She visits the families who have daughters, sisters, aunties and mothers missing.
She tries to raise money for their release from captivity by IS.
This half an hour BBC report takes you into the stories and lives of these brave people, interviewing girls who were able to escape sex slavery by ISIS, telling graphic details of their captivity.
Vian Dakheel Saeed – is a Yazidi Member of the Iraqi Parliament.
Minister Vian has reported: There are 420,000 Yazidi refugees in Kurdistan. 700 children between 4-10 year old have been kidnapped by ISIS. Some girls are sold for $1 – then resold to another ISIS man to be raped continually every day.
This interview with Minister Vian and with Nareem is compelling as they recount the horrific details of Yazidi sex slaves captured by ISIS.
When will these horrors end?
When will the international community band together to push back on this evil?
Is anyone safe from the clutches of ISIS?
We need to stand with our sisters globally to ensure their safety and well being.
If you would like to give money to these families, I have channels I can use to get it all to them directly – contact me, and let’s discuss what we can do together.