For the Yazidi people of Iraq, Thursday marked a particularly horrifying day. On October 8th, ISIS fighters participated in the female sex slave market, where Yazidi girls were the prize item.
ISIS considers the Yazidi religion akin to devil worship, and frequently uses that as a justification for murder, rape, and enslavement. After invading the Sinjar Province, which the Yazidi call home, ISIS captured the women and girls and murdered the men. The United Nations has already accused ISIS of genocide against the Yazidi people.
A decree by the leaders of ISIS states that if a Yazidi girl is raped by 10 ISIS fighters, she will convert to Islam.
A 22-year-old former ISIS sex slave, identified by CNN reporters as Noor, was sold into slavery after ISIS overran her Iraqi village in the Sinjar Province. The man who bought her raped her, but not before showing her his “justification.”
“He showed me a letter and said, ‘This shows any captured women will become Muslim if 10 ISIS fighters rape her.’ There was a flag of ISIS and a picture of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.”
After raping her, he passed her on to 11 of his friends who did the same.
Other Yazidi women attempted to end their lives rather than fall victim to the ISIS fighters’ predation. 21-year-old Bushra, already traumatized from witnessing and undergoing the invasive examinations by ISIS gynecologists to determine whether girls were virgins or pregnant, said she swallowed a bottle filled will pills in an attempt to kill herself after being taken to her captor’s home, to escape becoming a victim of rape. She collapsed and was taken to a hospital, where she was revived and subsequently raped.
ISIS is keen on keeping its victims alive as they suffer horrors. Another group of 14 girls all drank rat poison together to avoid becoming rape victims at the hands of their captors. They were all rushed to the hospital, where their stomachs were pumped and they were revived, and subsequently returned to their captors to suffer Noor’s fate.
In ISIS territory, Yazidi women are treated as no more than a disposable commodity. They can be bought and sold, bartered in exchange for weapons, and even given as gifts. The system goes far beyond simple transactions, however—the process is deeply embedded in the ISIS theology.
ISIS claims its justification for the enslavement of the Yazidi women is drawn from the Quran, a claim that many Muslims readily refute.
For the few like Noor and Bushra who are able to escape, there is comfort in knowing that they can do something to educate the public about the horrors of ISIS. The two, along with another girl who escaped the horrors of ISIS, have recently travelled to the UK with the AMAR foundation, where they have given lectures on the dangers of radicalization in an attempt to dissuade youth from travelling to Syria to join ISIS.