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Choosing death: Yazidi women driven to suicide when forced into sexual slavery by ISIS

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By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online
12/23/2014 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Harrowing sexual violence forced upon girls as young as 15

When confronted with being sold into slavery and forced into a life of demeaning sexual violence and rape, hundreds of Yazidi women in captivity to Islamic State have chosen to take their own lives. Those are the shocking facts as found by Amnesty International.

The Yazidis are a centuries-old religious minority based in northern Iraq and Syria that follow a religion that predates Islam and Christianity but shares elements with Abrahamic religions.

The Yazidis are a centuries-old religious minority based in northern Iraq and Syria that follow a religion that predates Islam and Christianity but shares elements with Abrahamic religions.

Highlights

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
12/23/2014 (4 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Yazidia, ISIS, ISIL, rape, sexual slavery


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Female members of Iraq's Yazidi religious minority are being forced into sexual slavery by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant...

The London-based human rights group Amnesty International says that the women there face torture, rape, forced marriage or risk being "sold" or given as "gifts" to ISIL fighters.

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Based on interviews with over 40 former captives, Yazidi women and girls face harrowing sexual viole

Based on interviews with over 40 former captives, Yazidi women and girls face harrowing sexual violence and have tried - successfully and otherwise to end their own lives.


"Hundreds of Yazidi women and girls have had their lives shattered by the horrors of sexual violence and sexual slavery in ISIL captivity," Amnesty's Senior Crisis Response Adviser, Donatella Rovera, said in a statement.

"Many of those held as sexual slaves are children, girls aged 14, 15 or even younger," Rovera added.

Based on interviews with over 40 former captives, Yazidi women and girls face harrowing sexual violence and have tried - successfully and otherwise to end their own lives.

A 19-year-old named Jilan committed suicide out of fear of rape, Amnesty quoted her brother as saying.

"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," a girl who was held with her but later escaped.

"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 former captive told Amnesty how she and her sister tried to commit suicide after their captor threatened them with forced marriage.

"We tied the scarves around our necks and pulled away from each other as hard as we could, until I fainted . I could not speak for several days after that," she said.

Amnesty also recounted the story of 16-year-old Randa, who was abducted with her family and was then raped by a man twice her age.

"It is so painful what they did to me and to my family. DAESH (ISIL) has ruined our lives . What will happen to my family? I don't know if I will ever see them again," Randa said.

Hundreds of Yazidi women and girls were captured by ISIS in August after they overran their hometown of Sinjar. Hundreds were killed in the attack, and tens of thousands were either stranded in nearby Mount Sinjar or fled to Kurdish-held parts of northern Iraq.

The Yazidis are a centuries-old religious minority based in northern Iraq and Syria that follow a religion that predates Islam and Christianity but shares elements with Abrahamic religions.

They have suffered religious persecution for generations because of their beliefs, even accused of devil-worship, an accusation they deny.

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Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

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