ISIS has singled out the Yezidi minority, notably its women and children, for particularly brutal treatment. In August 2014, ISIS fighters abducted hundreds, possibly thousands, of Yezidi men, women and children who were fleeing the IS takeover from the Sinjar region, in the north-west of the country. Hundreds of the men were killed and others were forced to convert to Islam under threat of death. Younger women and girls, some as young as 12, were separated from their parents and older relatives and sold, given as gifts or forced to marry ISIS fighters and supporters. Arwa was abducted in August 2014 in a village south of Mount Sinjar with scores of her relatives and hundreds of neighbours. She was held in ISIS captivity in various places in Syria and Iraq, where she was raped, before escaping. Sixty-two of her relatives, including her mother and siblings, are still in ISIS hands. She was 15 years old during her enslavement and when she told her story in late 2014.
They took us first to Syria, to a place near Hassake. There we were kept in a house with lots of girls. After 10 days a group of us were taken back to Iraq, to Mosul, for two days. Then I was taken to Baiji with one of my sisters and some of my cousins, while four of my sisters and two of my cousins were taken to Syria. In Baiji I was kept in two different places and after about three weeks I was taken to Rambussi, near Sinjar, with my 13-year-old cousin, while my sister was taken to my mother who is being held in another village with other relatives.
In Rambussi we were held in a house with five other girls. There they did to me what they did to many other girls. I was raped. My cousin was not molested; they wanted to take her to marry her to a man but in the end they left her with us and then we managed to escape. One of the girls said she was not raped but I don’t know if it is true; I hope it is true. Another did not talk about what happened to her. The others were raped. The men were all Iraqis. They said that if we killed ourselves they would kill our relatives.
Narrative provided by Amnesty International in the report 'Escape from Hell: Torture and Sexual Slavery in Islamic State Captivity in Iraq'