“Luna,” was captured by ISIS fighters when they swept through northern Iraq in August 2014. She was sold four times and raped by all her “owners.” She was one of hundreds of Yezidi women and girls who had similar experiences.
Some of them eventually escaped and were reunited with their community, who took refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan. But that wasn’t the end of their ordeal.
Survivors my colleague and I interviewed, described organized rape, sexual slavery, and forced marriage by ISIS. They were in dire need of health care, counselling and other services to help them begin to recover from their ordeal.
Kurdistan officials took their needs seriously, but subjected some unmarried women and girls to “virginity tests” –an abusive and inaccurate procedure– as part of a forensic, post-rape examination. Judge Ayman Bamerny, who heads a committee gathering evidence of ISIS crimes, told us these tests were seen as evidence of rape by Iraqi courts.
By Rothna Begum