Girl set herself on fire to avoid further rape at hands of ISIS

A 16-year-old Yazidi girl named Yasmin was sick of being raped by ISIS fighters. So she doused herself in gasoline and lit a match, knowing that if she survived that the militants would no longer find her desirable. “Now she looks like a zombie, and children cry when they see her,” said Dr. Jan Kizilhan, a psychology professor and trauma expert who has been working to bring women and children traumatized by ISIS to Germany for treatment. “It is so difficult to see what the fire did to her.”

According to Dr. Kizilhan, many ISIS fighters view the raping of Yazidi women and children, and the slaughtering of their men, as morally equivalent to “killing a chicken.” Dr. Jan Kizilhan, who has worked with trauma victims in Rwanda and Kosovo, has partnered with the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg to bring 1,100 women and children thus far to a facility near Stuttgart for treatment. All of the refugees are struggling with horrific experiences that defy description. One 10-year-old said she was sold eight different times to different ISIS fighters after she was abducted with her mother during ISIS’s invasion of the Sinjar region in August, 2014. The fighters raped her, beat her, and subjected her to extreme physical abuse.

Duzen Tekkal, a German-Yazidi journalist, has traveled to Iraq to make a documentary — Hawar — to help raise awareness of the Yazidi people’s plight. In a phone interview, Tekkal said the children she spoke to no longer sounded like children. “In one case,” Tekkal recounted, “a 9-year-old said, ‘Take me to be raped, not my little sister, please don’t touch her, take me.’ So they took the 6-year-old down the mountain and they raped her.” Some of the children, she added, repressed memories of their rapes — amongst them a 12-year-old who, despite saying she hadn’t been touched, was undeniably pregnant.

ISIS still holds almost 2,000 women hostage, nearly all of them Yazidi, according to a recent United Nations report.

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