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.”
— Maan Khider (@MaanKhider) July 24, 2017