Freed Yazidi Sex Slaves Seek Abortions and Virginity Repair Surgeries to Heal ISIS Damage

NBC News
NBC News

Turkish news outlet Hurriyet Daily News travelled to Iraq to interview Yazidi women and girls the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) had kidnapped and raped. These females managed to escape or be released after relatives paid a ransom. Now they reside in refugee camps in northern Iraq.

The terrorists sold Dalia, 19, at least seven times before she escaped on April 4 after nine months in captivity. When the militants attacked, they separated the men from the women. Dalia said they never heard from the males again. Militants from Turkey, Germany, and Chechnya were among the men who participated in the slave market, which included girls as young as 12. However, the last man who bought her was a blessing in disguise:

Then he [previous militant] sold me to an Arab from Kirkuk, who later revealed to me that he bought me not to rape me, but to free me in Kurdistan. With him, I went to Karbala, then to Baghdad and finally to Zakho, where he handed me over to the Kurdish police.

My father was working in Zakho. He came to pick me up from the police station. When I saw him again, I thought I was flying. He started to cry. I was so happy that I almost forgot about everything I experienced.

Selma, 26, gave birth while in captivity. When the outlet interviewed her, she was freed “just 12 days previously” with her 4-year-old son and 6-month-old daughter:

After they raided our village in Sinjar, they took me to the city of Tal Afar with the other Yazidi women. My son was with me. They kept us in prison for one month, then they transported us to Raqqa in Syria. They put us together with some 500 women in the top floor of a building. Then ISIL militants came over and started to buy us one by one. One of them bought me with my son and took us to his home. My daughter was born there. Then he sold us to an ISIL militant for 2,600 dollars, who would later sell us to another man from Aleppo for 4,000 dollars. I found a mobile phone in his house and called my husband secretly. Then my husband paid him 20,000 dollars to take me back. My children and I fled to Turkey first, then we went to Zakho via Şanlıurfa.

Islamic State terrorists kidnapped Sarah when she was only 13-years-old and forced her to marry a 40-year-old man. The man was determined “to make Sarah pregnant.” She faked an illness to visit a female doctor, who put her on birth control pills. That provided her the courage to escape. She left with the man’s other sex slaves when their guard fell asleep. Her family put her in touch with a smuggler who “re-kidnaps” victims from ISIS.

Unfortunately, the females are scared they will not be fully welcomed back upon their return due to “a deeply traditional culture.” Some did not want to come back because “[T]hey felt ashamed and afraid.” From The Sunday Times:

The magnitude of the crisis is such that Baba Sheikh, a prominent Yazidi religious leader, issued an unprecedented statement to the community. It declared the women were victims who had suffered through no fault of their own and should be supported, not ostracised.

Young women worry they will be stigmatised and become “unmarriageable” in a culture in which sexual intercourse before marriage is frowned upon.

Although abortion is illegal in Kurdistan, even for cases of rape, some doctors have secretly been performing terminations for those who have come back pregnant. Some returning Yazidi girls are also secretly seeking surgery to reverse the loss of virginity.

The experience completely ruined Sarah. Two men offered their hands in marriage, but she refused.

“I refused both of them; I don’t want to fall in love,” she cried. “I don’t think I can. I don’t want to be married or have children — I am damaged goods.”


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