Women belonging to Iraq’s Yazidi minority, who follow a religion that is neither Christian nor Muslim, have borne much of the worst of the horrors to which Islamic State terrorists subject so-called “infidels.” Turned into sex slaves for and sold as wives to jihadists, the Iraqi doctors who treat them say the abuse is often beyond anything they have seen.
Speaking anonymously to Niqash, a publication focusing on Iraqi issues, doctors working in and around Mosul, the largest city in Iraq under Islamic State control, say Yazidis are among the most abused of those facing extinction at the hands of the terrorist group.
“It is a public, collective act of rape,” said one doctor, who remained anonymous for fear of retribution from Islamic State terrorists. “I treated about ten women and I was stunned to find one who was just 13 years old. Her mental and physical health were very bad,” he noted.
Another woman arrived in a such a state that doctors almost pronounced her dead. “She had been on a hunger strike after being raped by several of the IS gunmen and if she had not been brought to hospital, I am sure she would be dead by now,” the doctor said.
Another doctor in Mosul told the story of “Layla,” a Yazidi girl who is the focal point of the article, perhaps because hers was the story doctors could tell with the most detail. Layla was not a sex slave, but married off to a jihadist, one who forced her to convert to Islam and was clearly abusive. Layla was brought to live in the small town of Tal Afar, where her Arab neighbors noticed her deterioration, and finally one woman requested that her husband let her travel to Mosul for medical treatment. He, surprisingly, acquiesced, though demanding another Islamic State jihadist accompany the women.
A doctor described Layla as “pale and she had physical and psychological pain,” yet by virtue of being relatively intact, he said, “she was in better condition than some of the other Yazidi women we have treated here. Those women were beaten because they did not yield to the demands of the IS group members.”
The plight of Yazidi women during the Islamic State takeover of northern Iraq has become one of the most catastrophic humanitarian disasters of this war. The few that have escaped tell of a miserable existence in terrorist-run brothels, in which the jihadists force themselves by the dozen on the women, some barely adolescents. The brothels are often run by women, the wives of Islamic State jihadists or recruits to the Islamic State themselves, many from Western countries. While the number of Yazidis being subjected to this abuse remains unknown, it is estimated that it may be in the thousands, with reports of hundreds of Yazidi women being abducted in individual attacks on towns.