Nada is a young Yazidi survivor of ISIL’ sexual slavery and captivity from the Sinjar region in northern Iraq. She managed to escape from ISIL with her daughter after a year of slavery. “I do not know where my husband is. I believe he is still in the hands of ISIL”, she says.
Like many other Yazidi women, she was held as a sex slave and was sold and re-sold several times, each time to a different ISIS fighter. She was raped, beaten, and forced into servitude.
“Having escaped from ISIL, I sought refuge in Sharya Camp, near Dohuk, in the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq. There, I tried to forget my past and start a new life with my daughter. The community in the camp accepted me. While there were rumors about what happens to women in captivity, I did not want community members to know that I had been raped – because of the stigma I would face if people found out…” she adds.
One day a man in the camp started threatening her and claimed that if she did not engage in sexual relations with him, he would tell everyone about her rape under ISIL. Nada felt unsafe and did not want to leave her tent nor interact with the others anymore. All progress made in her recovery was rapidly undone.
“It took me a lot of courage but eventually I decided to ask for help at the legal aid center in the camp. I spoke to a police officer from the Directorate for Combatting Violence Against Women [of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq] and I told him about the man threatening me. I was very scared”, she says. The police officer followed-up on her case. He interrogated the man and told him that further action would be taken against him, should he bother Nada again.