Yazidi teen says she was raped every day for 6 months by Daesh captor

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Ekhlas, Yazidi teen says she was raped every day for 6 months by Daesh captor
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Ekhlas, Yazidi teen says she was raped every day for 6 months by Daesh captor
Updated 25 July 2017

Yazidi teen says she was raped every day for 6 months by Daesh captor

DUBAI: A teenaged Yazidi girl has spoken out about how she was captured by Daesh militants and raped every day for six months, before she finally managed to escape.
Speaking to the BBC, Ekhlas explains how she was 14, in 2014 when she was captured and held as a sex slave, with her captors subjecting her to daily abuse.
“Every day for six months he raped me,” she explained, adding that she eventually tried to kill herself.
Daesh targeted the Yazidis, an ethnic group in Northern Iraq, who were forced to flee as the militants approached the Sinjar district, killing the men and capturing the women and girls.
Many thousands of innocent people were killed as they attempted to flee into the Sinjar mountain region. Daesh surrounded the Yazidis, an ethnic Kurdish group, in August 2014. There were about 50,000 people trapped without food or water and no way to defend themselves.
There were some attempts to rescue the people who left stranded at the top of the mountain, but attempts to drop aid, or to save the many thousands were thwarted.
Ekhlas tried to escape with them, but was too slow and was captured.
Speaking of her abuser for six months, she explained how she was selected: “He picked me out of 150 girls by drawing lots.”
Looking physically repulsed, she describes her abuser in the interview – a man who for six months raped her – a 14-year-old child – each day.
“He was so ugly, like a beast, with his long hair… He smelt so bad. I was so frightened. I couldn’t look at him.”
She said she saw no way out of the situation, adding: “I tried to kill myself.”
She said that she would want to cry, hit out and stop the abuse, but she defiantly concludes: "My smile was my weapon."
But luckily Ekhlas managed to escape while her abuser was fighting and she was taken to a refugee camp.
During the interview with the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show, Ekhlas looks at times obviously angry, sometimes disgusted as she recalls the man who denied the opportunity to experience youth. But not once does she show any sign of crying.
“How am I telling you this without crying?” She considers at one point during the interview. “I tell you I ran out of tears.”
She now lives in a psychiatric hospital in Germany where she is being educated and receiving therapy.
There is no mention of her family and if any survived, nor of the fate of her captors, although Daesh have been driven out of most of Iraq.
But despite the horrific ordeal Ekhlas was subjected to, she remains optimistic – as the interview draws to a close, the text on the screen reads: “She hopes to become a lawyer.”

New Chicago mayor gives Arabs hope

Updated 33 min 46 sec ago

New Chicago mayor gives Arabs hope

  • The election of Lori Lightfoot as mayor gives Chicago’s Arabs an opportunity to reverse the damage that Rahm Emanuel has caused
  • Emanuel’s first acts as mayor included blocking the annual Arabesque Festival, which Jewish groups complained against

Plagued by ongoing controversies and criticism that he tried to hide a video of Chicago police killing a black teenager in October 2014, Rahm Emanuel decided he had had enough as the city’s mayor and decided to retire.

Elected in 2011 with a big boost from his former boss, US President Barack Obama — also a Chicago native — Emanuel served two full terms.

But his hopes of reversing the city’s tumbling finances, improving its poorly performing schools, and reversing record gun-related violence and killings, all failed.

However, Emanuel did have one success. He managed to gut the involvement of Chicago’s Arab-American minority in city-sponsored events, responding favorably to its influential Jewish-American community leadership, which complained about Palestinian activists who advocated for statehood and challenged Israeli oppression.

Emanuel’s first acts as mayor included blocking the annual Arabesque Festival, which Jewish groups complained included photographs of Palestinians protesting against Israel. The festival had only been launched four years earlier by his predecessor in 2007.

Emanuel also disbanded the Advisory Commission on Arab Affairs, and ended Arab American Heritage Month, which had been held every November since it was recognized by Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor.

Emanuel refused to discuss his reasons for these decisions with leaders of Chicago’s Arab community.

He declined repeated requests by me to interview him, despite my having interviewed seven Chicago mayors. He declined similar requests from other Arab journalists.

While he hosted iftars for Muslims, he never hosted an Arab heritage celebration during his eight years in office.

His father was a leader of the Irgun, which was denounced as a terrorist organization in the 1940s by the British military.

The Irgun murdered British soldiers and thousands of Palestinian civilians, and orchestrated the bloody Deir Yassin massacre on April 9, 1948.

Before becoming mayor, Emanuel volunteered at an Israeli military base repairing damaged vehicles. His pro-Israel stance was never challenged by the mainstream US news media.

But with the election in February of Lori Lightfoot as mayor, Chicago’s Arabs have an opportunity to reverse the damage that Emanuel caused.

Lightfoot was sworn into office on Monday and serves for four years. She has already reached out to Arabs, appointing at least two Palestinians to her 400-person transition team, whose members often remain and assume government positions with new administrations.

The two Palestinians in her transition team are Rush Darwish and Rami Nashashibi. Darwish has organized several successful marathons in Chicago and Bethlehem to raise funds for the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. Nashashibi is involved with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN).

As an African American, Lightfoot knows what it is like to be the victim of racism, stereotypes and discrimination. That makes her more sensitive to the concerns of Chicago’s Arabs.