This isn’t easy to read. It’s stomach-churning. But we must know our enemy, and ISIS is determined to destroy liberty, freedom, culture and families.
According to The Daily Beast, ISIS is holding girls and women for one of two purposes: to sell them or to destroy morale by raping and torturing them. These are mostly Yazidi women, being held in Iraq. Reports of what is happening in the prison in Mosul come from the women themselves. Some smuggled in cell phones; others have been forced to call their families by their ISIS captors so that the families can listen as the girl or woman is raped repeatedly.
Pakhshan Zangana, head of the High Council of Women’s Affairs for The Kurdish Regional Government Zangana, is literally pleading with the world for help, but every day the situation gets more and more desperate, and help seems further and further away.
It’s sick,” Zangana said, while choking back tears. “[ISIS] went so far as to force the local beauticians to come in and dress them up, putting makeup on them. Then telling them to instruct the women to be submissive to their new husbands.” One Yazidi woman who escaped from ISIS told The Daily Beast that many of those held were teenagers, some as young as 14.
Some of the women are being auctioned off as “brides” for members of ISIS. Others have had infants torn from their arms, with no way of knowing what has become of them. Those who refuse to convert face a slow and certain death, but only after repeated sexual assaults. Zagan says some women have escaped, but rescue seems to be the only way to free the majority.
This is not just a Kurdish or Iraqi problem, this is an international crisis,” Zangana said. Many of the survivors were adamant that the fighters were made up of foreign nationals from all over the world. One of the women stated that they were able to identify the foreign fighters by the multiple languages they spoke, as well as distinct physical characteristics. “The women calling are telling us that many of these men hail from Chechnya,” a region in the Russian Federation known for Islamist fighters, who are being identified by their open use of the Russian language and red beards. Other women who had been held in the prison supported these claims identified “British and Dutch nationals,” too, Zangana told The Daily Beast.
“It’s complete psychological warfare. These families are already destroyed by the loss of their loved one’s, and now ISIS has them calling to tell them of the atrocities they have suffered!” said Zangana.
Zangana says that even if these women escape or are rescued, they will not be able to return home to their families, even if their families or homes still exist. Given the cultural context, these women who have been raped will be virtual outcasts.
These are children, girls, women, mothers, sisters, aunts. Their crime: not being Muslim. Their sentence: slavery, rape and death.