Women who escaped the horrific clutches of ISIS have told their horrific tales of abuse, rape, slavery and brutal torture.
Seivan Salim, an Iraqi female photographer, tracked down some of the women who managed to escape.She has portrayed them wearing the traditional white Yazidi wedding dress – a symbol for purity.
|PERLA, 21. From Kojo, Sinjar. Captured August 15, 2014. Held for 10 months|
When ISIS came everyone fled to the mountain, but the militants captured them on the way and told them to stay in the village where they would be safe. They said that we would be freed. They lied. They took us to Syria by bus. I was with around four hundred other girls.
The man who chose me was very angry; he beat me and threatened to shoot me. He told me he would help reunite me with my parents who he claimed were almost certainly dead. I told him if he knew they were dead then he should kill me too. He took us to a farm where we hardly ate anything for eight days. They registered our names then they sold us again. Each time they took around four or five girls and sold them. Then came back again to take more of us.
One person bought me and brought me to Raqqa. He took me to an underground prison. I stayed there with other girls for twelve days. They came and hit my friends because they didn’t convert to Islam. One day they came to sell me again. There were five men one of whom was French. He asked me if I knew how to cook and if I spoke Arabic. I told him I didn’t.
He told me that I would learn and took me with him. He only took me to sell me again, this time to an old man from Saudi Arabia who lived with a Jordanian. I stayed in their house where they brought me a black abaya and some food. They left me in a room on the ground floor without locking it. I put on the abaya and ran away.
|ROOBA, 28. From Kojo, Sinjar. Captured August 15, 2014. Held for 10 months|
We were in Tal Afar for two months then they brought us to Raqqa in Syria. There were about three hundred of us girls there, in a big hall. All the women had babies who cried because they were so hungry. The children were only given one egg a day.
The first night nine girls tried to flee. They tied their clothes together to make a rope and lowered themselves out of the window, but the ISIS fighters found them and brought them back. They hit all of us because we didn’t tell them about their escape.
They put us all in a big room, locked the door and didn’t give us any water. Then one day they brought us to another building. On the front was written something like ‘area for selling’ and there I was sold to a forty year-old man from Saudi Arabia.
He asked me to marry him and when I refused he pointed to three objects sitting on his table; a knife, a gun, and rope. He said he’d use all three if I didn’t say yes. I refused over and over again, so he beat me. He beat my niece, who is only 3 years-old.
I was sold again, this time to a single man who wanted to marry me. I refused with all my might and again was beaten, and again they beat my little niece. He tried to rape me and when he couldn’t he sold me again.
In the new house I did all the work: cleaning, cooking and washing. The man who bought me said that he had to sleep with me to make me a real Muslim. I told him that if he slept with me I would become his wife and then I would not be a slave any more. His wife threatened to leave if he slept with me.
She got very angry at my niece because she couldn’t speak Arabic: she put pepper in her mouth and locked her in a room without water; she beat her so much you can still see the wounds today.
They wouldn’t let me change her diapers for a week. We were only allowed to eat small portions of food because after all we were slaves and we shouldn’t expect to have much food.
NASIRA, 18. From Kojo, Sinjar area. Captured August 15, 2014. Held for 11 months
When ISIS arrived they tried to convert us to Islam. We all just cried, even my father. They brought us all to a school, took all our money and possessions. We heard that they killed four trucks full of men from our village.
When we heard the planes flying overhead I prayed they would bomb our men. It would have been better than being killed by ISIS. I also wished they drop bombs on us. I’d preferred to be killed by shelling than be captured by ISIS.
I was not sold but they brought me to Raqqa in Syria and gave me to a Saudi family as a gift, as a slave. I stayed there for eight months. They brought us to the school to teach us the Quran.
I saw the beheaded and crucified body of a YPG fighter [Syrian Kurdish militia fighting ISIS]. It was terrible.
AZHIN, 22. From Kojo, Sinjar. Date of capture August 15, 2014. Held for 11 months
At first we were in prison in Raqqa for fifteen days. They behaved like animals. They traded us like you would with a car. A man from Saudi Arabia bought me and I was taken to a house where two other men lived as well. I begged him to let me be with my sister. He hit me on the head with his pistol until I bled. They didn’t take me to the hospital. Instead they took me back to the prison while I was still unconscious.
My sister was sold three days later and I was heartbroken. But, we were reunited when I was sold later – along with seven other girls – to the same people. We were kept in a house during the day. Different men would come and pick us up for the night. We stayed like that for five months. There was not enough food and we couldn’t wash. I was sold again.
This time for two months to a man from Tajikistan. He was later killed fighting, so I was sold again, and then again, but this time I was given as a present. I was forced to have sex up to six times per night. They always fastened my legs and arms when they raped me.
One time I tried to run away but they caught me again. They didn’t feed me for six days and three times a day they would give me twelve lashes with a cable.I don’t know anything about my mum, dad and brothers. All I know is that my sisters were captured too.
NASIMA, 22. From Kojo, Sinjar. Captured August 15, 2014. Captured for nine months
They came to us and said that they would leave us alone. Then they came and told us we had to convert to Islam otherwise they would behead us. They gave us time to think and then they came back again saying that they would let us go, but instead they brought us to a school, took our money and our possessions. They separated the men from the women and left us inside. Then we heard the shooting. We thought they were killing animals not our men.
In Mosul sheiks and emirs came and looked at us. They were buying us. I was sold to a man who took me to Tal Afar. When we arrived I was forced into marriage. That night he tied my hands and legs and he blindfolded me. Then he raped me. I never stayed long in one place: Mosul, Bashika, Baaj, Kojo, Sinjar. He kept moving around and he always brought me with him. I tried to run away twice, but he caught me and beat me for three days in a row. Sometimes I would go a whole week with no food, sometimes more. I was always locked inside a room as if I was in prison.
I was in Mosul when I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore and I needed to leave. I was scared, but I put on a black abaya and went in the streets. I got on a taxi, told the taxi driver I was escaping from slavery and begged him to help me. I was lucky because he helped me. He called my brother and asked to arrange a smuggler. My brother knew a driver in Mosul who he trusted and asked him to bring me to Badush where he would collect me. I was taken to the Peshmerga [Kurdish soldiers] and I was free. My two sisters and two brothers are still with ISIS.
The first time a member of ISIS raped me, he hit me with a whip. He washed me and forced me to marry him. He was about 30 years-old and had four children. He wanted me to give him a baby. The man dealt with explosives and moved around a lot. I saw them placing mines in several different cities. When they heard an airplane they would send me out; they thought that if the pilots saw me they would not bomb them. I hoped they would.
Culled from Daily Mail