Just over a year ago, ISIS began their carefully calculated capture of the Yazidi people. Yazidi polytheism was the core reason that ISIS targeted them in August of 2014. After surrounding them on top of Mount Sinjar, they killed the men and captured the women. In the October issue of ISIS’s Dabiq journal, they admitted that it was planned and that their research found that the enslavement of Yazidi women was “justified.” This is consistent with researchby Human Rights Watch., which agrees that the sex trade of minorities has been systematic and organized.
The fate of the Yazidi women hasn’t been the main topic of conversation, but a question remains: Could Muslim, Christian, and Jewish women be next?
We’re all in this together
The systematic enslavement and rape of Yazidi women is inhumane, and one of the most brutal acts that ISIS has committed in the region. Amnesty International’s report describes the escape of a small fraction of women as an“escape from hell.”
Although ISIS has systematically targeted Yazidi women in their organized slave labor camps, this is just the beginning. The future of their skewed interpretations of Islam cannot be predicted.
The brutality of ISIS increases exponentially as time passes
Thus, we must all realize that we’re all in this together. The brutality of ISIS increases exponentially as time passes – although it started off with showing mercy for foreign hostages and letting them go in exchange for ransoms, it has shown no mercy to anyone in recent months.
Despite initially justifying the enslavement of Yazidi women by the fact that they are not the ‘people of the book’ (Christians or Jewish – of an Abrahamic religion), a recently leaked document disputes that. The document, which details the trading price of women based on their age, refers to slaves as either “Christian or Yazidi.”
It’s clear that no one is safe, and this is exactly why the world needs to act against the enslavement of women by ISIS, and give the survivors the attention and care that they need.
The United Nations has been putting in a lot of effort to shelter refugees from the brutality of ISIS. However, rape survivors need a special kind of attention.
Yazidis are bound to feel alienated, simply by the virtue of their beliefs. Rape survivors require medical attention, both on physical and emotional levels. Counselling is a necessity in order to integrate these women and children back into shared communities. Most importantly, these survivors need to feel safe and significant. While discussing refugees, we must also talk about the rape survivors.
Yara al Wazir is a humanitarian activist. She is the founder of The Green Initiative ME and a developing partner of Sharek Stories. She can be followed and contacted on twitter @YaraWazir