Beheadings are not the only horrors perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL. Over the past two months, there has been a tragic stream of reports about thousands of women and girls abducted from their families and sold in markets. These violent extremists are attacking their own women and girls.
While captive, these women and children have been tortured, raped, given to ISIL thugs as “brides,” or kept as sex slaves. Some have committed suicide to avoid sexual enslavement. Others have been forced to watch as ISIL beat their children to coerce the women into converting to Islam. Some have simply been executed. Hundreds of women and girls have been taken from Iraq to ISIL camps in Syria and never heard from again.
We cannot allow these voices, these lives, to be silenced. All of us must stand up for those who are defenseless.Reports indicate that ISIL has abducted between 1,500 to 4,000 women and girls, mainly from Iraq’s religious community of Yezidis and other minority groups. Girls as young as 12 or 13 have been forced to marry extremists or sold to the highest bidder — like cattle at an auction. These are young girls, mothers, and sisters facing imminent rape, trafficking, and forced marriage. These are women and girls who pleaded to be killed in airstrikes rather than be brutalized by ISIL.