Baghdad, Nov 15: A heartwrenching revelation by a 15-year old Yazidi girl, who managed to escaped from the clutches of her tormentor, tells the story of an ISIS sex slave who is considered war spoils.
Narrating the story in detail, the girl reveals how she and her five sisters were torn apart from their family when they were travelling. The Jihadist who had selected her pressed a pistol on her head and pull the trigger. When she denied, they placed a knife on her 19-year-old sister's neck when she was forced to relent.
Hence, began the torturous journey of abduction and sexual abuse.
A nightmare of forced marriage and sexual slavery
The 15-year old and her sisters were not alone. There were thousands who had been abducted from various districts and villages belonging to the minority Yazidi religion.
These girls were meant to be bartered for guns among the IS men. They were either forcefully married, asked to convert to Islam and repeatedly raped.
Unsympathetic to the plight of these women, ISIS's online English-language magazine, the Islamic State said that it was reviving a custom justified under Shariah.
The article explained:"One fifth of the slaves were transferred to the Islamic State's authority to be divided as khums," a tax on war spoils, and the rest were divided among the fighters who participated in the Sinjar operation."
The girl, referred to as D.A by NDTV, said,"I was crying and grabbing my mother's hand," she said during an interview at a relative's house in Khanke, a Yazidi village near Mosul Dam Lake. One of the Islamic State members came and beat me and put a pistol to my head. My mother said I should go so I wouldn't be killed."
She and her sisters were then transported in a convoy of three buses and driven to Mosul, an IS stronghold. Once there, D.A. and her two sisters were held in a house for nine days along with women and girls from other villages in the region, then they were taken to a three-story building crowded with hundreds of captives.
'Pick' by ranks, but not by choice
In a gory detail, D.A revealed how she and her sisters were stored in a clearinghouse where she saw IS soldiers passingby and picking up girls according to their ranks. A lower-ranked militant was allowed to take only one, while a higher-ranked one could take two.
Describing her taker, D.A said,"he was wearing a beard, though not a long one, and not very long hair". When she refused to go at first, holding on to her older sister, the latter was attacked with a dagger, which forced her to submit. Her 12-year-old sister looked on in stunned silence.
"She couldn't talk, she couldn't cry," D.A. said. "It's like she had no feelings."
Pick-up and pack-up
The selected girls are then transferred to several places and among different groups of women. For instance, D.A was moved at least eight more times, among increasingly smaller groups of girls, in the next few weeks. She recalls how she was taken across the border to Syria and kept in a white house next to a lake, near Raqqa, where IS militants engaged them in an auction. [Auction video: Where is my Yazidi girl?]
Some of the girls in that house were as young as 11 years. These girls were asked to shed their clothes, bathe and change into conservative Islamic garb.
Amid this, D.A underwent torture for trying to escape with five other girls. They were recaptured and threatened to be married off to a single man by the end of the week.
D.A meanwhile could hear women in another part of the house being taken in turns for sex or raped by one or several men.
The great escape
D.A did not lose hope and attempted another escape with another girl and succeeded. They squeezed themselves out from a small window and ran away until they were helped by an Arab man. They were then taken to a Kurdish household, who then informed D.A's brother and asked for $3,700 each in exchange of the girls. Till then, D.A did not have any idea whether her sisters were dead or alive.
Asked why the Arab took the extraordinary risk of helping the two girls, D.A. said, "I think he needed the money."
The 'logic' behind
Yazidis follow a religion influenced by a medley of faiths, including Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Islam. Hence, the Islamic State regards them as devil-worshipping pagans, deserving of enslavement or death.
Forcing Yazidi women and girls to marry Islamic State members and become their "concubines," the group ensures that their men do not commit adultery.
More than 5,000 Yazidis, and possibly as many as 7,000, most of them women and girls, have been kidnapped by the Islamic State, according to Matthew Barber, a member of the Sinjar Crisis Management Team, an advocacy group that has conducted an extensive survey of displaced Yazidi families.
D.A wanted her named in the media as an act of vengeance to the brutality she had undergone, but was later restrained by her lawyer out of fear of discovery.
While escaped Yazidi women keep mum over their ordeal, D.A was courageous enough to speak the truth, the brutal truth behind war crimes in the Islamic State.