The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) released 216 Yazidi hostages after eight months. Peshmerga Commander General Hiwa Abdullah said the majority are in bad health and abused. Families told their stories to aid workers, but the most disturbing find was a pregnant 9-year-old girl, who said she was raped by at least ten jihadists.
“This girl is so young she could die if she delivers a baby,” explained Yousif Daoud, a Canadian-based aid worker. “Even a caesarian section is dangerous. The abuse she has suffered left her mentally and physically traumatized.”
“She was sexually abused by no fewer than 10 men,” she continued. “Most of them were frontline fighters or suicide bombers who are given girls as a reward.”
ISIS targeted the minority Christian community because they consider the Yazidis are “devil-worshippers.” The religion is a “close-knit” community that refuses to marry outside of itself. Therefore, a pregnancy with a non-Yazidi is looked down upon. A few Yazidi men said they will marry these women and girls, but it “is less likely if they are carrying their tormentors’ children.”
“Sending back those girls and women is a way of shaming the whole community,” Daoud clarified. “I don’t know what the future would be for their babies. The girls and women don’t want them. They have suffered so much they just want to forget. If they are married, their husbands won’t take them back if they are pregnant. And it’s clear that the babies will never be accepted.”
Due to her medical needs, a Kurdish aid group flew her to Germany. From The Toronto Star:
If she survives the ordeal, her outlook will be better than that of dozens of other pregnant, traumatized Yazidi women. Unless Canada or other Western countries are willing to accept them quickly as refugees — and allow their babies to be adopted — aid workers say, the militants’ jihad will reach into another generation.
One Yazidi family managed to escape ISIS. Mahmoud said he was shopping when ISIS kidnapped “his wife, Ahlam, their three children – the youngest of which was just a months old – and his elderly parents.”
“They took our phones, jewelry, money,” described Ahlam. “They had guns. They forced us at gunpoint into big trailer trucks.”
The women were picked as sex slaves while men were forced to convert to Islam or die. Then the terrorists transported the Yazidis to a school to document all the names and occupations of their prisoners. Mahmoud’s family “chose to herd goats.” ISIS shoved them into a Shia village, where Ahlam found a cell phone from the house’s previous occupants. She called Mahmoud right away. He was thrilled all were still alive. Ahlam promised to call back when she could.
She described the village as a prison. ISIS killed those who tried to escape:
She recalls that two men, in their late 40s or 50s, tried to escape. When they were caught, their bones were broken, their bodies tied to the back of a truck and then driven through the streets.
The Yazidi captives were forced to watch the gruesome spectacle. The men’s corpses were then tossed into a ditch and an order given not to bury them.
A week ago, ISIS dragged out Ahlam’s in-laws and the other elderly people in the house. That is when she decided the family needed to escape:
They left at midnight. Ahlam cradled the baby, as her two other children, ages 3 and 4 years old, clutched at her clothes. She prayed the baby wouldn’t cry, that the children could keep walking.
They knew the general direction to take, but not the exact route, and they could only hope it was toward freedom.
“When the sun started to come up, I thought that’s it, we are going to get caught,” Ahlam says. “And what am I going to do with the kids? I can’t carry all three of them and run.”
The group made it into Iraqi Kurdistan and reunited with Mahmoud after eight months. ISIS released 216 Yazidis only a few days later, along with the pregnant 9-year-old, but Mahmoud’s parents were not included in the group.
Ahlam said ISIS considered her “impure,” as she was breastfeeding, which made her unfit to be a sex slave. The worst part of the eight months were the screams from the young women and girls ISIS did choose as sex slaves. Those screams haunt her, along with “the image of them being dragged away sobbing and screaming.”