SHAFAQNA – A 12-year-old girl was tied up, beaten and raped for by seven ISIS different fighters when she was kidnapped from her home in the Iraq region of Yazidi, a shocking new report has revealed.
The suffering of Jalila is just one of a number of harrowing accounts given by women who have escaped from brutal terrorist organization.
The study undertaken by Human Rights Watch found fighters were kidnapping women and children as young as eight, forcing them to marry or raping them repeatedly – sometimes picking their victims’ names out of a hand in a sick lottery.
Their terrifying campaign of systematic rape was war crimes and crimes against humanity, the report adds.
Jalila, who managed to escape her tormentors, told the charity she was taken with seven members of her family when Arab men stormed her village north of Sinjar in August 2014.
After a few weeks she was taken to a house in Syria that housed other abducted young Yazidi women and girls, where the men would come and select us.
She was selected by an ISIS fighter, who slapped her and dragged her from the house when she resisted him.‘I told him not to touch me and begged him to let me go’, she said. ‘I was a young girl, and I asked him, ‘What do you want from me?’ He spent three days having sex with me.’
During her captivity seven ISIS fighters ‘owned’ Jalila, and four raped her on multiple occasions.
Human Rights Watch has collected the accounts of 20 women and girls who escaped from ISIS, which they say shows a system of organised rape and sexual assault, sexual slavery and forced marriage – acts that constitute war crimes.
Now they are urging that survivors get the medical and psychological treatment that they need to cope with the unimaginable trauma they suffered.
Rashida told the charity she was told by her brother to commit suicide if she was unable to escape the ISIS fighters who had captured her.
‘Later that day they made a lottery of our names and started to choose women by drawing out the names’, the 31-year-old said.
‘The man who selected me, Abu Ghufran, forced me to bathe but while I was in the bathroom I tried to kill myself.
‘I had found some poison in the house, and took it with me to the bathroom. I knew it was toxic because of its smell.
‘I distributed it to the rest of the girls and we each mixed some with water in the bathroom and drank it. None of us died but we all got sick.’
Another woman, identified as Dilara, said she was taken to a wedding hall in Syria where ISIS fighters told the group to forget their relatives and prepare to marry them and bear their children.
From 9:30am in the morning, men would come to buy girls to rape them.
She told Human Rights Watch: ‘I saw in front of my eyes ISIS soldiers pulling hair, beating girls, and slamming the heads of anyone who resisted.
‘They were like animals…. Once they took the girls out, they would rape them and bring them back to exchange for new girls.
The girls’ ages ranged from eight to 30 years… only 20 girls remained in the end.’
Rape and other forms of sexual violence, sexual slavery, cruel treatment, and other abuses committed during an armed conflict violate the laws of war, the report by Human Rights Watch says – and better support is needed for children and women who survive such attacks.
As well as a lack of provision for psycho-social treatment, there is a reluctance in the community to accept it, despite many women continuing to feel suicidal after their ordeal.
‘Yazidi women and girls who escaped ISIS still face enormous challenges and continuing trauma from their experience,” Liesl Gerntholtz, the women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch said.
‘They need urgent help and support to recover their health and move on with their lives.’