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Escaped Yazidi Sex Slaves Tell of Harrowing Abuse by Islamic State

Escaped Yazidi Sex Slaves Tell of Harrowing Abuse by Islamic State

Recently, seventy members of Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority escaped a brutal Islamic State (IS) prison after a month of captivity in Mosul, Iraq. Some of those prisoners, including young girls, chose to tell the media about the horrific treatment Yazidis suffered at the hands of IS.

A 14-year-old girl, known as “Narin,” told journalist Mohammed A. Salih her story and how she escaped captivity. IS killed her brother and other young men as they transported the women and girls to a school in Baaj, just west of Mosul. The terrorist group attempted to convert the women, but the women continually refused. The guards then separated the married and unmarried women. Narin and her friend were given to two IS soldiers as wives or concubines in Fallujah. The Washington Post reports:

On our sixth day in Fallujah, Abu Ahmed and the aide left for business in Mosul. Abu Hussein, Shayma’s captor, stayed behind. Around sunset the next evening, he went to the mosque for prayers, leaving us alone in the house. Using our cellphones, we had contacted Mahmoud, a Sunni friend of Shayma’s cousin, who lived in Fallujah, for help. It was too dangerous for him to rescue us from the house, so Shayma and I used kitchen knives and meat cleavers to break the locks of two doors to get out. Wearing traditional long black abayas that we found in the house, we walked for 15 minutes through town, which was quiet for evening prayers. Then Mahmoud came and picked us up on the street and took us to his home.

The two girls stayed at Mahmoud’s house for the night, and a cab driver drove the girls and Mahmoud to Baghdad the next day. The girls remained in traditional dress to remain hidden from prying eyes. Friends provided fake IDs, and the girls boarded a plane to Irbil, the capital of Kurdistan:

I still couldn’t believe we were free until our plane touched the ground. After staying in Irbil overnight at the house of a Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament, Vian Dakhil, we traveled north to Shekhan, to the residence of Baba Sheikh, the spiritual leader of the world’s Yazidis.

After so much fear for so many days, hugging my dad again was the best moment of my life. He said he had cried for me every day since I disappeared. That evening, we went to Khanke, where my mother was staying with her relatives. We hugged and kept crying until then I fainted. My month-long ordeal was over, and I felt reborn.

One 17-year-old girl described her ordeal as a sex slave. Several different men raped her numerous times. The women often begged the men to kill them, just to end the nightmare.

“Our torturers do not even spare the women who have small children with them,” she said. “Nor do they spare the girls – some of our group are not even 13 years old. Some of them will no longer say a word.”

The kids may speak to their parents, “but only to describe in detail the sexual abuse they have to endure every single day.” The girl wanted to die, but she wanted to embrace her parents even more. “They’ve already killed my body,” she said. “Now they’re killing my mind.”

Dauoud Kalu, a member of the Local Council in Ninevah province, said the 70 prisoners who escaped in Mosul include 40 women. They got away after the United States launched air strikes on IS bases. They walked over two days to reach Sinjar, where most were captured. He said the Yazidis are not in good health and that the Islamic State terrorists beat and starved them. 

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