17-year-old says she is one of about 40 Yazidi women and girls, some as young as 12, still being held captive and sexually abused on a daily basis by Isil fighters
The 17 year-old said she was one of a group of about 40 Yazidi women who were still being held captive and sexually abused on a daily basis by Isil fighters.
She said she was captured on August 3 during a jihadist assault against the town of Sinjar in northern Iraq and is now being held in horrific conditions of sexual servitude in a village south of Mosul.
British extremists fighting in Syria and Iraq have boasted on Twitter and other social media that Yazidi women had been kidnapped and used as “slave girls”.
I beg you not to publish my name because I’m so ashamed of what they are doing to me. There’s a part of me that just wants to die. But there is another part of me that still hopes that I will be saved and that I will be able to embrace my parents once again,” she told Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.
The newspaper was able to interview her by calling her on her mobile phone, after being given the number by her parents, who are in a refugee camp in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The woman said her captors had initially confiscated her mobile and those of all the other women, but had then “changed strategy”, returning the phones so that the women and girls could recount to the outside world the full horror of what was happening to them.
“To hurt us even more, they told us to describe in detail to our parents what they are doing. They laugh at us because they think they are invincible. They consider themselves are supermen. But they are people without a heart.
“Our torturers do not even spare the women who have small children with them. “Nor do they spare the girls – some of our group are not even 13 years old. Some of them will no longer say a word.” The woman, given the false name Mayat by La Repubblica, said the women were raped on the top floor of the building, in three rooms. The girls and women were abused up to three times a day by different groups of men.
“They treat us as if we are their slaves. The men hit us and threaten us when we try to resist. Often I wish that they would beat me so severely that I would die.”
Some of the men were young fighters fresh from Syria, while others were old men.
“If one day this torture ever ends, my life will always be marked by what I have suffered in these weeks. Even if I survive, I don’t know how I’m going to cancel from my mind this horror.
“We’ve asked our jailers to shoot us dead, to kill us, but we are too valuable for them. They keep telling us that we are unbelievers because we are non-Muslims and that we are their property, like war booty. They say we are like goats bought at a market.
The captive women were praying for rescue by anti-Isil ground forces or an international intervention.
“My only hope is that the peshmerga [Kurdish militia] come and rescue us. I know that the Americans are bombing [Isil positions]. I want them to hurry up and drive them all out, because I don’t know how much longer I can stand this. They’ve already killed my body. Now they’re killing my mind.”
She said she had heard that Arab Christian women had also been captured and imprisoned as sex slaves by Isil, but that her group consisted exclusively of Yazidi women, all of whom came from the town of Sinjar.
The town is at the foot of Mount Sinjar, where thousands of Yazidis were forced to flee last month after being encircled by Isil.
While many of the refugees managed to eventually escape the mountain, others were captured by the extremist group.
The United Nations has accused Isil of ethnic cleansing in northern Iraq, detailing a campaign of mass detentions and executions in Christian, Turkmen and Yazidi areas.