Speaking to the aid workers who had spent time with refugees, I became aware that many of the women had been exposed to sexual and other forms of violence in Syria.And, unlike many others, their ordeal had not ended in exile.
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For all women under ISIS rule, sexual violence is a major risk across the board.
Women have been stoned to death in ISIS-held areas.
Moreover, in cases of adultery and other “crimes,” a woman’s testimony in court is worth less than a man’s.
And the standard of evidence is not exactly forensic.
While still in captivity, Yazidi women are under constant terror that they will be raped.
If they manage to get released, they then live under the suspicion by others that they have been raped, which in an honor culture can get them killed by friends and relatives.
After ISIS invaded Iraq from Syria and conquered the central and western areas of the country in the summer of 2014, it massacred the men and enslaved the women of the Yazidis, an ancient non-Islamic sect that ISIS refers to as “devil-worshippers.”One Yazidi woman who escaped from ISIS’ captivity recalled pleading with an Islamic State fighter to cease raping a child. “I said to him, ‘She’s just a little girl,’ and he answered, ‘No. Previous stories, such as ISIS subjecting every woman in Mosul to genital mutilation, had proven false; it seemed that this fantastical report would also be disproven. Many well-known rulings are observed, including the prohibition of separating a mother from her young children.”ISIS has used the enslavement of Yazidi women to recruit more foreign fighters.
Even some of ISIS’ online supporters were taken aback by this. Casual sex, Western-style, does not exist in the Islamic world, and even prostitution isn’t easily accessible. Once they took the girls out, they would rape them and bring them back to exchange for new girls.
For Sunni women, ISIS still greatly restricts their rights and social mobility.
Its ideal is for them to be covered with the , kept behind closed doors, and sedentary, according to a leaked document from an ISIS ideologue translated by Charlie Winter, a researcher with the Quilliam Foundation.
Its roots are in a small group of Jordanian who went to Taliban Afghanistan in 1999 and who were in Iraq waiting for the Americans when the invasion came in 2003. It claims to be restoring Islam to the time of its advent with the prophet Muhammad in the seventh century.