The kidnap, rape, torture and genocide of thousands of Yazidi women remains one of the most horrific atrocities of Daesh’s violence and abuse in Syria and Iraq.
Daesh wanted to eradicate the Yazidi people. They wanted to “purify” Iraq of any peoples not conforming to its twisted version of Islam.
The trauma of the remaining Yazidi women is unthinkable. Their adult male relatives have been systematically slaughtered. Their young males have been brainwashed and trained to become Daesh child soliders. The Yazidi women have suffered unfathomable abuse.
But the Yazidi women are starting to fight back.
As Daesh’s so-called caliphate collapses and its power over the Yazidi people is diminished, the mothers, daughters, grandmothers and sisters who have survived Daesh’s brutal regime are beginning to rebuild their lives.
One recent story tells of ‘Dalal’, a young Yazidi woman who was kidnapped by Daesh and raped and abused by nine militants. In the story, Dalal is publicly vowing to achieve her dream of becoming a lawyer after surviving the group’s horrific abuse.
It’s a story we hope is being read by Daesh militants and their supporters. It holds a powerful message: You tried to extinguish us. You tried to reduce us to animals. You tried to ensure we would have no hope in life. But we are resilient and ready to move forward stronger than ever before.
When Daesh invaded their lands in 2014, they separated the men from the women. Dalal has never seen her adult male relatives again. It’s feared they were massacred. Her 9-year-old brother was among younger boys forced to become child soldiers and brainwashed into Daesh’s perverted ideology.
Dalal was repeatedly “sold” to Daesh fighters and raped. One of the rapists, known as Abu-Mustafa, got her pregnant but, according to reports, another militant who had also “bought” Dalal made her force an abort the baby by taking pills and carrying out heavy labour. She was left weakened and in pain by the ordeal, which continued for nine months under nine separate captors.
Many women would understandably been beaten by this abuse. The suffering and psychological effects are unimaginable.
And this is why it’s so incredible that Dalal is rebuilding her life with such enthusiasm and renewed strength.
Dalal is a symbol of hope for Yazidi women. She represents a brighter future for women abused by Daesh that we will not be beaten. Daesh has failed to destroy us. And it has failed to destroy our futures.
At Strive, we work with Muslim women to enable them to have a voice in and outside their community, in order to deliver a counter narrative voice to extremist ideology.
Dalal’s story is an inspiration to us all.