Yazidi Girl Explains Life As an ISIS Sex Slave in Horrific Detail: 'They Cuffed and Raped Me'

( [email protected] ) Apr 15, 2015 02:57 PM EDT
Yazidi Girls
"They dragged us away by our hair. They took married women, young ones. The youngest with us was just 10. We were all crying," recalled a Yazidi girl who escaped ISIS captivity. (Photo : AP Photo)

A young Yazidi woman who escaped from ISIS recently opened up about the horrific abuse she and hundreds of other women suffered while serving as sex slaves for the extremist group.

Last August, the militants stormed the town of Sinjar, in northern Iraq, and abducted thousands of men, women and children. While the men were given an ultimatum: convert to Islam or be killed, the women and girls were sold to fighters as sex slaves or given as "prizes."

"They separated all of us," 19 year old Hanan recalled in a recent interview with CNN. "They dragged us away by our hair. They took married women, young ones. The youngest with us was just 10. We were all crying.

"They said we are going to marry you off, you will forget your family."

During the first week of their captivity, Hanan and 50 other women were beaten on a daily basis and fed just a bowl of rice. After a short time, the militant group took the group to join hundreds of other women in a three story building known as a "sex slave warehouse."

"They would line about 50 of us up at a time, in rows of 10. They would say don't move, don't cry or we will beat you. The men would come in and describe the kind of girl they wanted and then they would pick and choose as they pleased," she said.

Related: 9 Year Old Yazidi Girl Pregnant after Being Gang Raped by ISIS; 'Traumatized,' May Not Survive 

Hanan was eventually chosen by an ISIS fighter, and was separated into a smaller group of seven. She was then taken into a house in the village, where she was ordered to bathe herself by two fighters guarding the doors

"They brought in a Yazidi girl who had been with them for two months. She was wearing the black niqab. They said to us we are going to do to you what we did to her," Hanan recalled. "The girl spoke to us in Kurdish and said they beat me, they cuffed me and raped me."

Hanan recalled how, after several nights, she and several others attempted to escape by crawling out the bedroom window.

"The fourth girl jumped out, I was the fifth. I crawled to the wall and was about to jump over it and then I saw their flashlight," she recalled. "They caught the last two girls."

Although Hanan eventually escaped, she says she is still mentally and emotionally traumatized by her experience.

"If I just see someone with a beard I start shaking," she said.

In its English propaganda publication, "Dabiq," ISIS earlier 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.

However, experts say the practice of keeping sex slaves has caused friction among the ranks of the extremist group. Sajad Jiyad, Research Fellow and Associate Member at the Iraqi Institute for Economic Reform, recently told the  Independent that many supporters had been in denial about the trafficking of kidnapped Yazidi women until the Dabiq article was published.

Atrocities endured by Yazidi sex slaves were exposed more fully in an 87-page report released by Amnesty International in November 2014.

"Hundreds of Yazidi women and girls have had their lives shattered by the horrors of sexual violence and sexual slavery in ISIL captivity," Amnesty's Senior Crisis Response Adviser, Donatella Rovera, explained.

"Many of those held as sexual slaves are children, girls aged 14, 15 or even younger,'' Rovera added.

The report noted that the trauma and sexual abuse suffered by the women and girls in captivity has driven several of them to suicide.