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Yazidi Girl Bought and Sold as ISIS Sex Slave Eight Times Shares Horrific Experience: 'I Asked God to Kill Me'

( [email protected] ) Mar 24, 2016 10:46 AM EDT
A young Yazidi woman who escaped ISIS captivity after being sold as a sex slave numerous times has revealed that the acts committed against her were so horrific, she repeatedly begged God to kill her.
In its English propaganda publication, "Dabiq," ISIS sought to justify its treatment of females, saying it is permissible under early Islamic law to capture and forcibly make "heretical" women sexual slaves. Photo Credit: Reuters

A young Yazidi woman who escaped ISIS captivity after being sold as a sex slave numerous times has revealed that the acts committed against her were so horrific, she repeatedly begged God to kill her.

Now 20, Khalida was kidnapped by Islamic State militants in 2014 when she and her family were denounced as "unbelievers" by former neighbours as they tried to flee their hometown of Sinjar after it had been overrun by ISIS fighters.

"Our neighbours, who are Muslims, said they would protect us, but when we were stopped at a checkpoint one of them pointed us out to the foreign [ISIS] fighters and said we were Yazidi. And we were all taken. There were 36 of us," Khalida told the MailOnline.

Members of the family were separated by sex, and Khalida and her sisters and female cousins were taken to Raqqa, Syria to be sold as sex slaves. Along the way, they passed through the destroyed town she once called home.

"I saw dead bodies - children, women and men - along the roadside. My eyes were scarred by what I saw and I had to hold my nose against the stench," she recalled.

In Raqqa, Khalida, along with dozens of other girls, was put on display in a "meat market" where women are purchased for as little as a mobile phone, or simply given away as "gifts".

"We were put on display. Men came in and looked at us like objects. It was like a car showroom. Women were bought for cash - as little as $20, or exchanged for things like mobile phones, or given away as gifts," she said. "The most beautiful women were put into a special room. Then five top ISIS leaders - emirs - came to choose girls. They took away three or four girls each. I was very afraid. I didn't know what would happen to me - raped, murdered?"

The young woman and her cousin were bought by an old man, a Syrian known as Abu Qalla, who kept them in a small room, where he repeatedly raped and tortured them. In turn, his wife would beat the girls for "tempting" her husband.

"You are Yazidi. You deserve what you get," the woman told Khalida and her cousin.

For over the next year, Khalida was bought and sold by eight different men, and underwent daily abuse, torture, and rape. She was force-fed contraceptive pills and once taken to hospital for a contraceptive injection after she was rendered unconscious by one particularly brutal gang rape.

"They [ISIS] did not want me get pregnant, especially if there was more than one man because they would not know who the father of the baby was," she recalled.

During her 16-month ordeal Khalida escaped three times, seeking sanctuary at the homes of three Arab families and appealing to them to contact her family. However, each time she was denounced to ISIS and returned to her "slave master."

"I told them, help me, get me out of here and my family will give you anything you want, name your price," Khalida said. "But they said: "You are Yazidi, an infidel, we refuse to help you."'

Khalida tried to kill herself many times in different ways, desperately hoping to free herself from the terrible abuse she was suffering. She even tattooed her father's name on her arm so authorities could identify her body after her death.

"I tried to kill myself many times. I covered myself in water and put my hand on electric cables but I always survived," she said. "I asked God to kill me. I thought it was better to die than to live as a sex slave with what they were doing to me, every day."

The courageous young woman - who was held for 16 months, finally won her freedom after she convinced her 'slave master' to sell her back to her family for $24,000. 

"I begged him and kissed his feet begging for him to contact my family,' Khalida told MailOnline.

'I told him I had been enslaved for over a year and had heard nothing about my family. I begged him every day for two months," she added. "Finally he let me call my brother Faisal. He told him he would sell me for $30,000. I told him my family were poor and had nothing, that they had abandoned their home. I had to barter for my life. Finally he agreed to sell me."

Today, Khalida lives in a cold, unfinished flat, in Duhok, northern Iraq. Despite her horrific ordeal, she is determined to live a full and successful life.

"Before the war I had a happy life. I lived with my family, helping my mother around the house with the cooking and the cleaning," she said. "Now my dream is to be able to read and write, because I was not able to go to school when I was young. When I was out there [in captivity] I was blind. When I was being moved around there many signs, road signs, if I had have been able to read them I might have been able to have escaped earlier."

Khalida is just one of hundreds of Yazidi and Christian women in the Middle East who have experienced brutality at the hands of Islamic State militants.

In its English propaganda publication, "Dabiq," ISIS sought to justify its treatment of females, saying it is permissible under early Islamic law to capture and forcibly make "heretical" women sexual slaves.

"Before Shaytan [Satan] reveals his doubts to the weak-minded and weak hearted, one should remember that enslaving the families of the kuffar [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shari'ah that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Qur'an and the narration of the Prophet ... and thereby apostatizing from Islam," the publication read.

A New York Times report from August also revealed that ISIS has "emphasized a narrow and selective reading of the Quran and other religious rulings to not only justify violence, but also to elevate and celebrate each sexual assault as spiritually beneficial, even virtuous."

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry officially declared ISIS is committing "genocide" against Christians and other ancient minority groups in the region. While the designation does not change U.S. policy, Mark Arabo, president of the California-based Minority Humanitarian Foundation, said it will raise international consciousness and create the preconditions necessary for the protection of those persecuted for their faith.

"Congress, the President, and the State Department now have a moral obligation to act," Arabo told The Gospel Herald.  It's not enough that they recognized the problem, they need to fix the problem. We hope and pray that the moral conscience of Congress is going to wake up, and God will open up their hearts and minds to the victims of genocide."

Arabo, who is the president of the California-based Minority Humanitarian Foundation, said the recognition also provides hope to those suffering for their beliefs.

"Christians are being massacred because of their faith," he said. "Their churches have been bombed, their houses have been taken away, their clothes have been stripped from them. They're left in the desert in camps, begging for someone to rescue them. They've lost everything they have because of ISIS, but they haven't lost their faith, they haven't lost their hope."