As if being held as sex slaves and subjected to the ordeal of being under Islamic State rule weren’t horrific enough, a new report attests that there are hundreds of women, young and old, still in captivity that could have escaped their ISIS captors — and further degradations — had their families been willing to pay a ransom. And this is excluding the unfortunate circumstances of those that could not afford to pay ransom. No, these families actually refused doing so, because of the fear of the shame that had befallen, or would befall, the family due to the knowledge that the woman in question was known to have been an ISIS captive, and that she had been raped.
Elliott Friesland, writing for The Clarion Project, reported on August 11 that, according to Dubai-based pan-Arab satellite channel Al Aan TV, hundreds of women held as sex slaves and captives by ISIS could have been rescued by their own families had those families not feared the shame that the women would bring down upon the them for having been raped. The reports are given credence due to “testimonies from women who escaped ISIS [that] show that Turkmen families whose daughters have been rescued from Islamic State captivity are treating the girls as a source of shame.”
And those were the rescued girls. According to Al Aan, five young Turkmen girls who escaped their ISIS captors and returned to their homes in southern Iraq soon discovered that their families had refused to work with any of the rescue agencies that could have supplied them with information of their missing women because of the fear of the shame it would bring their families.
It is estimated that there are at least 600 women and girls who remain ISIS sex slaves, or at least captives to ISIS militants, that could have been returned to their families had it not been for the fear of dishonor.
Muslim tradition in Iraq — as in many parts of the Muslim world — holds that women and girls be prohibited from having any kind of emotional relationships or eloping without their families’ knowledge and permission. Physical relationships are forbidden and females who violate the social code are often killed — usually by their own families.
As for a rape victim, even though the act of rape is by definition non-consensual, the tradition-minded families still look upon rape victims as a disgrace. There is such a high regard placed on a woman’s chastity prior to marriage that even the act of sexual penetration, no matter the level of willingness of the female involved, is seen as dishonorable.
Last month, an honor killing incident took place in Pakistan that made international headlines. The young woman, social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch, had, according to her brother, dishonored the family with her dress and conduct, so he had murdered her. Upon his arrest, as recounted by CNN, he said he had “no regrets” for having strangled his sister. Under certain provisions of Pakistani law, if a family forgives the killer, which is often the case in so-called “honor killings,” the killer would be released and face no additional legal repercussions for the young woman’s death. However, in this case, Waseem Baloch was charged under section 311 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which meant he would not receive a pardon even if forgiven by his family.
It bears repeating that such is not often the case.
Breitbart reported that being raped and even accusing a man of rape in many Muslim nations is, by far, a greater social burden for women to bear, oftentimes to the point of the rape victim being killed for “adultery” and/or being unchaste.
Elliott Friedland insisted that the cultural mindset that allowed such beliefs should not go unchallenged.
“The mindset that views women as property to be bought and sold in sexual slavery,” he wrote, “is the same as the mindset that views a woman to be damaged goods and a source of shame after she has been raped. She is not seen as a person in her own right but as a mere appendage to a male.”
And even if they’re not raped by their ISIS captors, the penalty for disobeying is just as severe. As Inquisitr reported in June, 19 Yazidi girls refused to become sex slaves for the extremists. They were all burned alive in a cage in a public square in Mosul, Iraq.
[Image via Shutterstock]