At least 150 Yazidi women and girls killed themselves after they were forced to become Islamic State sex slaves, according to a woman working with some of the survivors who managed to escape.
In one of the most comprehensive accounts of the effects of Islamic State brutality, details emerged of the ordeals faced by hundreds of Yazidi women, very often after their male relatives were butchered by Islamic State members.
Irifan Mahdi, who is trying to help the women rehabilitate into some semblance of normative society spoke of the horrors in an interview with the Sputnik news organization’s Arabic website.
She told the story of Jilan Barjess-Naif, 17, “a beautiful green-eyed girl, with rare blonde hair, who slashed her own wrists in a public bathhouse near Mosul, northern Iraq, which is under Islamic State control.”
She was separated from the less attractive girls and singled out for special rape treatment before being put up for sale in a sex market.
After she committed suicide, Islamic State members threw her body from the bathhouse into the nearest garbage dumpster.
Jilan’s sister, Jihan, committed suicide a few days after being captured and transferred, along with other girls, to A-Raqqa, the Islamic State’s capital, in order to be sold at a slave market.
Their pregnant mother, also captured, gave birth to a child in a cave. She was freed recently and returned home “as a mad woman” after the suicides of her daughters.
As if all of this was not enough, Islamic State executed six of Jilan and Jihan’s siblings and their father and arrested 20 other members of the family. The whereabouts of some are still unknown.
The fate of the Barjess-Naif family from Qar-Aziz in the Sinjar region of Iraq is by no means unique, according to Majid.
Mahdi said she knows of 150 Yazidis who committed suicide and believes the real figure is considerably higher.
“They preferred to die than to live in brutal sexual slavery and violence by organization members,” she said.
“The bodies of some who committed suicide were thrown to the dogs,” said Yazidi nurse Amal Hasou, who works in an IDP (internally displaced people) camp.
Hasou said Islamic State members even told the girls that if one commits suicide her body would be thrown into the garbage and served as a meal for dogs.
Most of the girls cut their wrists or used the hijabs they had been forced to wear to hang themselves. Some threw themselves to their deaths from the vehicles used to transport them.