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. Randa was abducted in August 2014 from her village south of Mount Sinjar with her parents and siblings and scores of other relatives. She was sold or given as a “gift” to a man twice her age who then raped her. Her father was killed along with other male relatives. Her mother, who was heavily pregnant when she was abducted, gave birth in ISIS captivity and was still being held with scores of other women and children from the family when Randa told her story. Some were being held in Syria, others in Iraq. Randa and two of her aunts and two uncles managed to escape at different times. She was 16 years old during her enslavement and when she told her story in late 2014.
I was taken to Mosul and kept there all the time. First in a building which they called the maqarr (headquarters). We were about 150 girls and five women. A man called Salwan took me from there to an abandoned house. He also took my cousin, who is 13 years old; we resisted and they beat us. He took me as his wife by force. I told him I did not want to and tried to resist but he beat me. My nose was bleeding, I could not do anything to stop him. I ran away as soon as I could.
Luckily they did not do anything to my cousin, did not force her to marry, and she escaped with me. I went to a doctor here, who said that I was not pregnant and didn’t have any disease, but I can’t forget what happened to me. It is so painful what they did to me and to my family. Da’esh has ruined our lives. My mum gave birth while being held by Da’esh in Tal Afar; now she is being held in Mosul with my little sister and the baby. My 10-year-old brother was separated from my mum and is being held in Tal Afar with my aunt. What will happen to them? I don’t know if I will ever see them again.
Narrative as told to Amnesty International