Young women and girls take captive and used as sex slaves by Islamic State militants are now having secret abortions to avoid being alienated by their communities, a new report has revealed.
In September, ISIS militants abducted between 1,500 and 4,000 women and children from the Christian and Yazidi community, according to the Human Rights Watch. Because they viewed the females as "spoils of war," the fighters reportedly felt entitled to use them as sex slaves.
"When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman's previous marriage is immediately annulled," said Christian author and Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer.
"[However] Islam avoids the appearance of impropriety, declaring that the taking of these sex slaves does not constitute adultery if the women are already married, for their marriages are ended at the moment of their capture," he added.
According to the Sunday Times, some Kurdish doctors are now performing illegal abortions and hymen surgeries on girls who have been able to escape in an attempt to reverse signs of sexual abuse. One Yazidi business man, who is helping to "re-kidnap" captured girls and bring them back to their homes, revealed that many victims, some as young as eight, feel deeply ashamed about the rape they have undergone.
"Some girls initially refused to return in the earlier days," Diler Sinjari told the news source. "They felt ashamed and afraid to come back."
As previously reported by the Gospel Herald, the militant group released 216 Yazidi women and girls earlier in April after holding them captive for over eight months.
One of the captives released was a nine-year-old girl who had become pregnant after being repeatedly raped by at least 10 ISIS militants. The Independent reports that the girl was in "bad shape" when she was found by a Kurdish aid group and may not survive the pregnancy. According to Yousif Daoud, a Canada-based aid worker, the group's release was simply a way of "shaming the whole community."
Daoud explained that following their release, it has been difficult for the women and girls to live in their communities because of the stigma attached to females who are no longer considered chaste. "If they are married, their husbands won't take them back if they are pregnant. And it's clear that the babies will never be accepted," he said. "I don't know what the future would be for their babies. The girls and women don't want them. They have suffered so much they just want to forget."
According to a recent Amnesty International report, many girls refuse to tell their relatives about their abuse for fear of being rejected, and other express expressed fears of never finding a suitable husbands. The report also noted that the trauma and sexual abuse suffered by the women and girls in captivity has driven several of them to suicide.
In its English propaganda publication, "Dabiq," ISIS earlier sought to justify its treatment of females, saying it is "Islamic" to capture and forcibly make "infidel" 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.