WASHINGTON (CBSDC)– A new report from The New York Times sheds light on a horrific aspect of Islamic State tactics and how it uses the sexual slavery of Yazidi women to gain control and recruit members.
The Times conducted interviews with 21 women and girls who recently escaped the Islamic State and confirmed already growing suspicions that the practice of rape has been enshrined into the core fundamentals of the group.
The practice of raping Yazidi women and forcing them into sexual slavery has not only become accepted, it’s been documented in how-to guides and memos to members of the Islamic State. The victims said ISIS fighters prayed before and after the sexual assault, and time after time justified the behavior as an “act of worship.”
“He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God,” a 12-year-old girl told the Times.
The Times report chronicled experiences of several women who suggest there is an internal systematized structure within the Islamic State which involves holding, selling, and transporting the victims.
“They laughed and jeered at us, saying ‘You are our sabaya.’ I didn’t know what that word meant,” another woman told the Times, soon learning that word meant slave.
Detailed practices that have been published from the Islamic State explain that slaves belong to fighters who buy them and can be given to another man or “disposed of” after death, just like any other property a man owns.
Many households even have multiple women enslaved. A particularly gruesome account from a 34-year-old Yazidi woman, who was bought and repeatedly raped, told the Times of a 12-year-old girl in the same home who was raped daily despite physical pain and injury.
“I said to him, ‘She’s just a little girl,’” the older woman recalled to the Times. “And he answered: ‘No. She’s not a little girl. She’s a slave. And she knows exactly how to have sex… And having sex with her pleases God,’” he said.
In September 2014, The White House said the United States is providing intelligent resources devoted to fighting ISIS, as well as sending US personnel to assess the ground situation.
“Our goal is clear: to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy so that it’s no longer a threat to Iraq, the region, the United States, and our partner,” the White House said in a press release.