Savage sexual violence, burning alive is ISIS 'tactic of terrorism' UN reports

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
Ilham, a Yazidi woman, folds the curtain of the tent where she lives in a refugee camp near Duhok February 26, 2015. Reuters photographer Asmaa Waguih: Ilham was kidnapped by Islamic State in August last year and was transported to Tal Afar along with other girls and women. She was raped several times by one of the militants. When Ilham tried to escape, some people she asked for help handed her back to the militants. She managed to get away a few weeks later. A U.S. envoy to the United Nations has called ISIS "sadistic sexual acts" a "systematic war on women." | REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) -- Rape, forced prostitution and sadistic sexual acts are among the brutal atrocities recently reported by the surviving victims of Islamic State savages. Unbelievably, a refusal to participate in the sexual barbarism is punishable by being burned alive.

Such was the fate of 20-year-old Zuhour Kati, who would not perform an "extreme sex act," considered justified by Quranic teachings, according to Zainab Bangura, a U.S. envoy to the United Nations looking at sexual violence in conflict.

With burns covering roughly 90 percent of her body, the woman later died in a hospital in Malatya -- a fate Kati's mother called a better alternative to the sexual slavery she experienced.

"'My daughter is better off dead,'" Bangura repeated to the Indianapolis Star what the girl's mother said.

Bangura said in a recent tour of refugee camps in Iraq and Syria she learned of sex crimes worse than any seen in similar war-torn regions across the world.

Reporting her findings to the UN earlier this month, she declared crimes against women in Bosnia, Congo, South Sudan, Somalia and the Central African Republic could not compare to the "systematic war on women" by ISIS.

"We learned of many other sadistic sexual acts. We struggled to understand the mentality of people who commit such crimes," Bagura reportedly said in an interview with the Middle East Eye.

Iraq and Syrian refugees who have fled attacks by Islamic State. In Iraq, approximately 1.9 million have been displaced internally as they flee violence and persecution by ISIL, according to the International Gulf Organization (IGO) for Human Rights. These IDPs are in serious need in the refugee camps. |

"They (ISIS) are institutionalizing sexual violence," Bagura added. "The brutalization of women and girls is central to their ideology. They use sexual violence as a 'tactic of terrorism' to advance key strategic priorities, such as recruitment, fundraising, to enforce discipline and order -- through the punishment of dissenters or family members -- and to advance their radical ideology."

Now Bangura is seeking a worldwide response to aid the women who have escaped a sexual slavery so horrendous that while scaptive some take their own lives by hanging themselves with their headscarves rather than remain in captivity. Others commit suicide by whatever means possible.

With some 3,000 to 5,000 women still enslaved, Bangura also seeks assistance for the remaining slaves that include Christian, Turkman Shia and Yazidis women. Whether sold to sheikhs or ISIS fighters, the women are auctioned and traded repeatedly until they escaped or are ransomed by their families, the International Business Times reported.

In her global appeal for humanitarian aid, Bangura made the case for broad-reaching support by explaining "There are 40,000 men from more than 100 different countries inside the Islamic State using brutal sexual violence as a strategic tactic to terrorize. We need all 100 countries involved, helping to deal with the aftermath," she said.

"This is precisely what ISIS does not want. It can be a kind of vengeance, helping these women recover and giving them a path to thrive. But they need qualified medical and psychosocial support and neither the UN nor the regional authorities are in a position to provide it."


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