Rape has historically been used as a war weapon. From Bosnia, to Rwanda, and now ISIS is using the systematic rape of women and even girls from the Yazidi religious minority.
Just last year, 5,270 Yazidis were abducted, with 3,144 still being held. There is a detailed bureaucracy of sex slavery with sales contracts that are notarized by the courts ran by ISIS. There is a network of warehouses where the abductees are held. Then they are moved to viewing rooms where they are inspected and marketed, and then buses will transport them.
Since the young girls are not followers of Islam, the Quran not only gives its followers the right to rape her, but also encourages it. By raping non-believers, Islamists become closer to God. There are more and more internal policies growing with ISIS that narrows and selects specific readings of the Quran and then use them to celebrate each rape as spiritually beneficial, just like a ceremony of worship. Now, the practice is being used as a recruiting tool for men that come from very conservative Muslim societies where casual sex is forbidden and taboo.
But how did this all begin? On August 3, 2014, ISIS fighters invaded villages on the southern side of Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq. The Yazidis are only a tiny religious minority – representing less than 1.5 percent of Iraq’s population of 34 million. However, this was not just another attempt to extend ISIS territory. The men and women were separated immediately after their capture. If adolescent boys had armpit hair, they joined their older brothers and fathers where they laid down in a field and were sprayed by automatic fire. Women, girls, and children were sent off in trucks. Next, unmarried women and girls were loaded onto buses with the windows blacked out or covered since they weren’t wearing headscarves or burqas. They were held in various cities such a Tal Afar, Solah, Sinjar City, and Ba’aj before being bought and sold for sex.
There has not been a widespread campaign to enslave women from other religious minorities – not yet. However, in a new manual issued by ISIS’s research and fatwa department, they have said that Christian and Jewish women are permissible as well. Last December, in a pamphlet that was published on Twitter, ISIS confirmed that they condone child rape, “if she is fit for intercourse.” There are no bounds for ISIS.