Two Yazidi women have told of the unimaginable cruelty they suffered at the hands of ISIS fighters who kept them as their sex slaves after raiding their homes in Iraq.
One, a 19-year-old mother, says she allowed her first captor who ‘bought her’ to rape her ‘whenever he wanted’ because he would beat her one-year-old baby son if she resisted. Her son was the only thing stopping her from taking her own life. Her second jailer raped an elderly mother and her daughter.
The second woman, 25, was sold again and again to a string of cruel fanatics who tied her to the bed and drugged her with morphine to keep her ‘silent’. She was beaten so badly that she could not walk for two months.
From the relative safety of the Khanke refugee camp in Iraq, they revealed to MailOnline the gruesome reality of being an ISIS prisoner – and the remarkable stories of how they escaped.
ISIS has carried out the ‘systematic sexual crimes’ against girls from the Yazidi community since kidnapping over 200 of them from their homes in northern Iraq last August.
Those considered the ‘most beautiful’ are then sent to horrendous auction houses where they are stripped naked and sold to the highest bidder.
It was the same for a young mother – known simply as Reehan to protect her identity – who told MailOnline how she was abducted from her home in a village north of Sinjar last August.
‘I was with my husband and my son when 30 cars with [ISIS] men drove over near our home,’ said the woman with olive skin and long dark hair as she held her baby boy in her arms.
The Sunni extremists rounded them up and drove them to the town of Tal Afar – around 50 miles away – where the women and children were separated from the men.
Here, Reehan was auctioned off to a 50-year-old Iraqi Turkmen fighter inside a school where she was put on display with around 200 other Yazidi women. She does not know how much the fanatic paid for her slavery.
Her voice trembled with fear as she recounted how the ‘very cruel’ man took her to his home – where she would be locked up for the next 10 months.
At first, she tried to prevent him raping her but when the Turkmen beat her one-year-old son in front of her, she was forced to stop resisting.
‘I agreed to everything that this man wanted for the sake of my son,’ she said clutching her adorable infant child a little bit tighter.
And when she questioned his beliefs, he screamed at her and said that the sexual trade in Yazidi women is permitted ‘according to Islam’.
Those considered the ‘most beautiful’ are then sent to horrendous auction houses where they are stripped naked and sold to the highest bidder
After 10 months of constant abuse and cruelty, she became despondent and numb and let him rape her ‘whenever he wanted’. But she refused to commit suicide because she feared what would happen to her child.
She was later moved to the house of another ISIS fighter in Mosul, Iraq, before being sold for a third time to a Libyan man in the Islamic State’s adopted capital of Raqqa, Syria.
She lived there for around 20 days, in a house with two other Yazidi girls, one aged 22, the other only 15, before an elderly mother and her five-year-old daughter moved in too.
It was here that she saw something so sickening, it convinced her that she had to risk it all and try to flee.
He came into the home and pointed at the mother and her daughter, she recalled.
He then brought them into a room and raped the mother before molesting the daughter.
She finally decided to escape by stealing a hijab and fleeing to a Syrian man’s house – where she telephoned her elderly mother in Dohuk.
After spending a few nights hidden there, the Syrian agreed to help her and her son cross the border but only if she paid him $15,000 – just under £10,000.
Reehan said her mother desperately got the money together with the possible help of a charity, adding: ‘After two days in Raqqa, the [Syrian] man drove us to Fish-Khabur on the Iraqi-Syrian border where I met my mother… I cried.’
She then travelled to Dohuk, where she now lives with her mother and son in the Khanke refugee camp. ISIS is still holding her husband, her father and two sisters captive. She is not hopeful that any of them are still alive.
‘I want to leave Iraq. But, I have nothing, no husband. I have no hope in [this country],’ she said.
You do not have to go far in the overflowing and primitive refugee camp – home to tens of thousands of other homeless Yazidis – to find other harrowing experiences.
Living near 19-year-old Reehan and her son is another Yazidi woman – known simply as Barfo – who also suffered horrific abuse at the hands of ISIS.
The softly spoken 25-year-old woman also recounted her abduction and daily sexual abuse by the cruel fanatics.
She remembers the exact day, August 3, when Islamic State fighters overran her town in Sinjar, kidnapped her and hundreds of other girls, and took them to the same slave auction in Tal Afar.
She too was sold off, but this time to a 35-year-old Iraqi ISIS fighter who then took her to his home in the north-west Iraqi city.
‘When he wanted to touch me. I cried,’ she said.
She tried to resist the man, but was unable to stop him raping her, saying: ‘I tried to fight him but I could not because he was too strong [and] he tied me to the bed and he injected me with morphine to make me silent,’ she recalled.
After one particularly horrific rape by the man, she tried to committee suicide by grabbing his gun and attempting to shoot herself. But the man stopped her from pulling the trigger and ending her misery.
After three more months of constant sexual abuse, she was taken to Mosul where she spent a week in Badush prison.
She too was then moved across the border to Islamic State’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa where she was sold to a 30-year-old Arabic man.
‘This man forced me to sleep with him and then he would beat me. One time he beat me so badly that I could not walk for two months,’ she recalled.
The man also made her pray six times a day and read the Koran. He would beat her up if she refused.
While in Syria, she was then sold on to at least four different ISIS fighters who used her as their sexual slave. She remembers how she was once thrown in jail for 10 days after strongly resisting abuse by one of them – an Arabic man.
Barfo said: ‘I was sold and put into prison [in Raqqa]. It was underground. I could not see anything.’
And it was not just Middle Eastern men who were abusing the Yazidis. While she was held hostage in a house in Syria, she remembers seeing a man who ‘did not speak Arabic or Kurdish.’
The ‘European’ as she called him, entered the house, with ‘a Yazidi mother and her two kids.’
She does not know exactly what country he was from, but was told, by her fellow Yazidi, that the man had crossed into Syria ‘from the Turkish border.’
Barfo (pictured above) was beaten so badly by one fanatic that she could not walk for two months – and was once thrown in prison for resisting an Arabic fighter. Photo courtesy of: Daily Mail
The woman only managed to escape after a Syrian neighbour of an ISIS fighter took pity on her. He hid her and two other Yazidi girls in his home before driving them around 150 miles west to the town of Afrin.
They stayed there for a few nights before heading to the border where she was finally reunited with her mother and her baby brother.
Although she spent around nine months kidnapped and abused by ISIS, the ordeal is not over for her family.
‘My mother, and my little baby brother are here. But the rest of my family are with ISIS,’ she said, sadness in her voice.
This includes two of her younger sisters, aged 14 and 15, who are being held in Mosul and Raqqa.
Barfo’s eyes almost burst with tears as she said: ‘Two days ago my [14-year-old] sister in Mosul called me crying saying she cannot escape.’
She, like many abused Yazidi women in Khanke refugee camp, want to leave Iraq entirely. But because her father is still missing, it is very difficult for her to get the relevant documents.
‘I want to get my ID and passport to leave this country, but I cannot get an ID as my father is still with ISIS,’ she said.
This is a common problem according to Shaheen Khalaf, who volunteers for a Yazidi aid organisation called Yazda.
He said: ‘Yazidi women held captive by ISIS have so many difficulties after they have been free. They have lost everything, no IDs, no passports…many [of them] want to commit suicide.’
Reehan and Barfo’s heartbreaking accounts reinforce those of many other Yazidi girls who all tell the same tale of slavery, cruelty and sexual abuse.
Only days ago, a 14-year-old Yazidi girl told how she was forced to undergo medical exams to ‘prove’ her virginity before she was sold to ISIS militants in a twisted auction.
Bahar, whose name has been changed to protect her, was sold to four different men over a period of six months.
Her second vile captor promised not to touch her sexually until she had her period but he went back on his word and began raping her daily.
As punishment for fighting back, her captor would whip her on her back, which is now covered in scars. She escaped after her family managed to ‘buy’ her back for $800.
And in May this year, a 17-year-old Yazidi revealed how she and her little sister were raped daily by depraved jihadists after they were sold into slavery at an auction of virgins – and she is now pregnant with the depraved jihadi’s child.
She went on to say every day of her nine-month ordeal was ‘like choosing between death and death’ as she was faced with beatings and sexual assaults by both the ISIS militant and his team of ‘bodyguards’.
The teenager told how she was gang-raped, whipped and even scalded on the thigh with boiling hot water if she didn’t keep with her ISIS rapist’s depraved sexual demands.
Thousands of women and girls from the Yazidi community – an ancient Kurdish ethnic group based in the north of Iraq – have had their lives shattered by ISIS fighters, Amnesty International has said.
It says hundreds, and possibly thousands, have been forced to marry, ‘sold’ or given as ‘gifts’ to Islamic State fighters or their supporters – and many held as sexual slaves are girls younger than 14.
Amnesty’s researcher Donatella Rovera spoke to more than 40 women who were fortunate enough to escape ISIS captivity in Iraq.
She discovered that some of these abused women and girls were so severely and irreparably traumatised that they have been driven to end their own lives.
One of them, nineteen-year-old Jilan, killed herself while being held captive in Mosul because she feared she would be raped.
Her friend, who managed to escape, told Amnesty: ‘One day we were given clothes that looked like dance costumes and were told to bathe and wear those clothes… Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself.
‘She was very beautiful; I think she knew she was going to be taken away by a man and that is why she killed herself.’
The trauma of Yazidi girls who do survive the sexual violence and vicious beatings is further worsened by the stigma surrounding rape.
Survivors feel that their ‘honour’ has been tarnished and fear that their standing in society will be diminished as a result.
Meanwhile, many survivors of sexual violence are still not receiving the full help and support they desperately need, Amnesty says.
It adds: ‘Many survivors are also struggling to cope with the loss of dozens of family members who either remain in captivity or have been killed by ISIS.’