The barbaric sexual acts of violence and rape committed by the rebel group ISIS, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, in the form of sexual slavery is being utilized as a source of cash flow and war tactic for the rebel organization. In recent months ISIS has sent shock waves across the globe for extremist acts of violence in the forms of beheadings, death marches, and mass executions all for the creation of an Islamic state across Sunni areas of Iraq. In these regions acts of terror are nothing new, but don’t usually involve acts of savage rape and sexual slavery. This sexual warfare is one of many tactics ISIS uses to place fear into the people of these Middle Eastern Regions. Captured women are forced into warehouse for days and told to take off their Burkas so men can pick which female they want to buy or have sex with. Refugees in particular are being targeted along with minorities, which have to be careful of being kidnapped. After the UN confirmed the reports of sexual aggression within the ISIS occupied territories they released a warning statement saying,
“Acts of sexual violence are grave human rights violations that can be considered as war crimes and crimes against humanity”
(UN News Centre).Sexual slavery is profitable for ISIS and some cases of ransom have even appeared. The Wall Street Journal published a story about a woman who was kidnapped form Syria and freed after her family paid a $30,000 ransom fee. ISIS claims to be a religious affiliated organization living according to the Sharia law, but contrary to their beliefs they are committing direct violence against Shia Muslims. How can this group commit such obviously ungodly acts and still be holy under god?
On the other hand there is a group of women who have volunteered in Northern Syria in the city of Raqqah that have joined ISIS as an all female brigade. These women receive salary for patrolling the Raqqah streets to enforce the dress code. They are also are used to expose male activist who disguise in women’s clothing. This shows an interesting contrast to the fear ISIS creates in most women in these territories.
It is easier said than done, but the need for action by the international community has to happen or else the continuation of torture will never cease to exist. Men and Women all around the world are speaking out against these acts of sexual violence including actress Emma Watson who re-quotes the words of Edmund Burke during a UN Women Speech restating,
“All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men and women to do nothing.”
Awareness needs to be generated in order for the world to recognize the horror individuals are currently dealing with. The lack of emphasis on the subject by the media is disheartening to see. It seems the only focus has been on the continual growth of ISIS and what it means to the rest of us rather than the individuals directly being harmed by these group members. The best way for the world to understand the situation is to hear from the people dealing this it first hand.