TRIGGER WARNING: This article deals with accounts of sexual assault, violence and suicide. It may be distressing for some trauma survivors.
Imagine being held captive by a powerful terrorist notorious for their sexual abuse of women and young girls.
Lying awake at night, knowing your fate was to be sold or forced into marriage with an older fighter for the militant group.
Being so terrified, as you lay waiting in captivity, that you begged the woman next to you to take your life.
That’s the reality for two sisters from Iraq, who tried to strangle each other to death when they realised they were going to be sold as wives to Islamic State fighters.
Wafa, 27, and her sister were captured along with hundreds of other women from Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority when the town on Sinjar fell into IS hands in August this year,
Fearing they would be forced to marry a captor or sold as a “wife” to a stranger, they tried to take each other’s lives other late one night, a new report by Amnesty International reveals.
A displaced Iraqi Yazidi woman. Yazidis say members of their families men -women and even babies- have been abducted by militants. (Photo: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images) (Note: this post does not specifically refer to the subject of this picture)
“The man who was holding us said that either we marry him and his brother or he would sell us. At night we tried to strangle ourselves,” Wafa said.
“Two girls who were held with us woke up and stopped us and then stayed awake to watch over us,” she said. “When they fell asleep at 5am we tried again, and again they woke up and stopped us. I could not speak for several days after that.”
Another woman named Jilan, who was just 19, also took her own life out of fear she would be raped, the Amnesty report revaled.
A girl who was held with her said: “One day we were given clothes that looked like dance costumes and were told to bathe and wear those clothes.