Society

Amnesty International: Sexual Violence Has Shattered Lives Of Yazidi Women

| by Will Hagle

The situation with ISIS and Iraq’s Yazidi population seems to be growing worse, according to a new report from Amnesty International. There have been several reports that the Islamic State has been responsible for the mass slaughter of the minority population, driving people out of their hometowns and forcing women into marriage in order to essentially treat them as sex slaves. One ISIS fighter was even deemed responsible for the death of 150 women, mostly Yazidi, who refused to enter into forced marriages. 

Amnesty International’s report claims that many women have had their lives destroyed or been driven to suicide as a result of ISIS’s presence. “Hundreds of Yazidi women and girls have had their lives shattered by the horrors of sexual violence and sexual slavery in ISIL captivity,” said Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser Donatella Rovera, “Many of those held as sexual slaves are children, girls aged 14, 15 or even younger.” 

The report includes several stories about individuals who were forced into captivity and suffered severe sexual violence at the hands of fighters for the Islamic State. Stories about the treatment of the Yazidi women are barbaric and cruel. One girl talked about the death of Jilan, a 19-year-old who committed suicide in captivity. “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.” 

Another girl, Wafa, said she and her sister "tried to tried to strangle each other late at night" to end the abuse; they were ultimately separated by the other girls. 

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Victims of sexual abuse in the region are currently receiving medical and support services from the Kurdistan Regional Government and the UN, but the situation with ISIS has escalated to the point that more help is desperately needed. 

Sources: Al-Jazeera, Amnesty International