Hundreds, perhaps thousands of Yazidi women captured by ISIS have been subjected to horrifyingly brutal and degrading treatment from their captors, according to a hard-hitting new Amnesty International report. The victims "have had their lives shattered by the horrors of sexual violence and sexual slavery," says an Amnesty official who spoke to more than 40 former captives in Iraq. Some of those held by ISIS are children as young as 10, and the militants "are using rape as a weapon in attacks amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity," she says. Captives have been tortured, raped, sold, forced to marry fighters, and in many cases, forced to convert to Islam.
Some traumatized victims have killed themselves, including a 19-year-old girl called Jilan. "One day we were given clothes that looked like dance costumes and were told to bathe and wear those clothes," says an escaped captive who was held in a room with 20 others. Jilan "cut her wrists and hanged herself," she says. "She was very beautiful; I think she knew she was going to be taken away by a man and that is why she killed herself." Amnesty urges humanitarian groups and the Kurdistan Regional Government to step up their efforts to help get survivors the help they need. A United Nations panel says ISIS' treatment of women, including sexual violence and the stoning to death of alleged adulterers, constitutes crimes against humanity, the AP reports. (Read more Yazidis stories.)