When Iraqi forces took over the city of Mosul earlier this summer, they liberated thousands of women who were being held by ISIS.
These women, usually ethnic minorities like the Yazidi, may be free from ISIS, but they are still battling severe psychological trauma. According to a profile in The Independent, many of these women are in a state of severe shock, often sleeping for days at a time.
In their conquest, ISIS sold thousands of Yazidi women as sex slaves. Dr. Nagham Nawzat Hasan, a doctor in the area, treated around 1,000 of these victims. She described the vast majority as "very tired, unconscious," and "in a severe shock and psychological upset."
The Independent also spoke with Khalid Taalo, who is caring for his young niece, an escapee of the ISIS slave trade. Upon her escape from her ISIS captors, Souhayla was overjoyed and laughing when she saw her family. But now, in a refugee camp, she struggles to speak or lift her head up. She could barely manage to whisper to her uncle an answer to reporters: "I'm happy to be home but I'm sick."
Souhayla, who was just 13 years old when she was captured in 2014, was raped daily by seven different men.
Many of the women liberated during the Mosul operation display the same symptoms. According to the director of Iraq's Bureau for the Rescue of Abductees, Hussein Qaidi, "90 percent cent of the women coming out are like this."
Who can imagine what horrors these women have faced? As Souhayla's uncle put it, "This is what they have done to our people."
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