Syrian and Iraqi girls are stripped naked, paraded around, and graded by Islamic State handlers before being shipped off to other provinces, according to Zainab Hawa Bangura, United Nations special envoy on sexual violence in conflict. In a recent post on her Facebook page, she made this statement on how ISIS demeans female captives.
“They have made the abuse of women and girls a central part of their doctrine, and use rape, sexual enslavement, and forced marriage to attract new recruits, and reward favoured fighters.”
According to Catholic Online, Bangura studied and interviewed Syrian and Iraqi girls subjected to sexual abuse by militants in five countries. As an illustration of the brutality she uncovered, she recounts how one particular woman was forced to marry 20 fighters and made to undergo surgery each time to restore her virginity.
The religiously-motivated ISIS fighters use forced marriages as a technical loophole to get around the Islamic laws forbidding fornication and adultery, Bangura found. As quoted by Bloomberg, she made the following statement on the matter.
“They have a machinery, they have a program. They have a manual on how you treat these women. They have a marriage bureau which organizes all of these ‘marriages’ and the sale of women. They have a price list.”
During a trip to Iraq last April, Bangura acquired a list available to ISIS fighters and other parties interested in bidding on the captive women. It showed the following pricing in dinars: for boys and girls between the ages of one and nine, the equivalent of $165. For adolescent girls, the price scale goes down to the equivalent of $124. The cost for women over 20 is even lower.
ISIS uses the availability of sexual partners as a recruiting tool to attract young men into its ranks, according to the Huffington Post. Due to their lack of access to women prior to marriage, plus the cost associated with marriage, young men are compelled to suppress their sex drive until the opportune time. The forced marriage option involving young women and girls offered at affordable rates are a draw to men in need of sexual relief.
U.S. President Barack Obama is on record condemning the prevalent practices involving female captives in the Middle East. In a White House press release on September 10, 2014, he expressed his opinion on the subject.
“In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage.”
Caught between their personal needs and the overall mandate to produce babies at a rapid rate to populate the caliphate, ISIS fighters have the easy option of using the enslaved Syrian and Iraqi girls.
[Photo by Oleg Nikishin / Getty Images]