An ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) rape victim, a Yazidi teen now convalescing in Germany, burned her entire body, including her face and hair, last year after being kept a sex slave by Islamic State militants. She said she was in so much fear of being raped again that she couldn’t bear the thought, so she set herself on fire.
The Associated Press reported last week that an 18-year-old Yazidi woman called “Yasmin,” who had been a captive and sex slave of ISIS extremists in Iraq when she was 17, doused herself in gasoline and set herself on fire rather than submit to further sexual assaults. In recounting her self-immolation, Yasmin said she had escaped her captors and was in a refugee camp when she thought she heard ISIS fighters talking outside her tent. It was then that she decided she would make herself “undesirable” to the extremists, poured gasoline over her body, then lit a match.
The subsequent fire burned away her hair, lips, and ears. It was in this condition, not to mention also suffering psychological and emotional trauma, that German doctor Jan Ilhan Kizilhan found Yasmin.
“In the view of the Islamic State ideology, these people are not human beings,” Kizilhan told the Associated Press.
“These people” are Yazidis, a small religious minority of ethnic Kurds primarily located in northern Iraq. ISIS considers Yazidis apostate and have attempted to systematically eliminate them.
“We experienced that also in the Nazi regime in Germany, they did the same with the Jews,” the doctor added.
The dehumanization of the Jewish populations in Germany, its allies, and its occupied territories was just part of the process that ultimately ended in the attempted genocide of European Jews by the Nazi regime in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Yazidis now argue that the Islamic State are currently trying to do eliminate them and other minorities (like Christians and Alawites) in the region and have asked nations like the United States to condemn the Islamic State and declare ISIS’ actions genocidal, which the U.S. House of Representatives did in March (per CNN). As NBC News reported in August 2014, the Yazidis were targeted by the ISIS, which launched a campaign to “purify” Iraq and its neighboring countries of all non-Islamist influences after announcing their worldwide caliphate in June 2014.
Yasmin is just one of 1,100 Yazidis, Christians, and Muslim Shiites chosen through a German government program designed to rehabilitate women who have experienced the pain and torture of ISIS captivity and/or sex slavery. They are currently allowed to stay in Germany for two years, but it is believed that, if the women petitioned the German government, they would be given permanent asylum.
She was just 16 when taken prisoner by ISIS. Yasmin and her sister had become separated from their family as they fled into the mountains when they were captured. Although Yasmin spent just seven days in IS captivity, she was brutally raped multiple times. After escaping their ISIS captors, she found that she was still terrified and was always crying. So when she thought she heard ISIS fighters outside her tent, thought she might be recaptured and raped again, Yasmin set herself on fire.
Now, though, she has been reunited with her family and is living with them in Germany. And she wants her story to be told.
“It is very important to tell our stories because the world should know what happened to us,” she said, “so that it doesn’t happen again.”
The use of captured women as sex slaves by ISIS has been well documented. What the extremists do to women who thwart their authority is also well known. In June, as was reported by Inquisitr, the Islamic State made headlines when they burned alive 19 Yazidi girls in a public execution because they refused to “marry” (read: become sex slaves to) ISIS militants.
There are currently some 3,200 Yazidis remaining in ISIS captivity in Syria. Unfortunately, the Middle Eastern social culture often precludes the captured women ever returning to their families. Why? In August, Inquisitr reported that many of the women held as prisoners and sex slaves could have gone home if ransoms had been paid for their release. However, ransoms went unpaid (and the women remained sex slaves) due to families fearing the shame and dishonor that the women having had sex — the fact that they were raped does not matter — would bring to the families.
[Image via Owen_Holdaway/Shutterstock.com]