Monday, 23 February 2015

Yazidi girls who escaped Islamic State are trapped by trauma

Last summer, militants from the Islamic State group attacked a small ethnic group called the Yazidis, executing men and taking thousands of women and girls as slaves. The Yazidi (or Yezidi) people are a Kurdish tribe who follow an ancient Mesopotamian pagan religion in which they worship the sun and have a spiritual connection with the land.  

Kimbal Bumstead, a young British-Dutch artist, spent some time in the Yazidi refugee camp of Batman in Turkey in October. People told him that on the 3rd August, ISIS militia came to their village and took 80 men out into the streets and told them they must convert to Islam or they will be killed. Those who refused were shot; those who accepted were also shot. They told horrific stories about their family members and friends being slaughtered and their women and girls being raped and sold into sexual slavery.  Here is his report

Some of the Yazidi women managed to escape from the terrorist group and are now living in huge refugee camps in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq. They are freed, but far from free, as PBS's special correspondent Marcia Biggs explains in her harrowing report. She speaks with young women in Dohuk, one of the refugee camps, about rape, violence, threats, the terrible escapes that they endured and their continuing struggles with psychological trauma and stigma - especially in a culture were rape is shameful and virginity for young women is essential.

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