Life under ISIS: Girls as young as 8 are being repeatedly raped by fighters and beaten when they resist

The War Against ISIS
The War Against ISIS

Women and girls living under ISIS rule are being raped, beaten, and tortured.

A new report by the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank, details what life is like for children who live under ISIS rule, and highlights how girls are treated.

According to numerous reports, rapes and beatings are commonplace in the "caliphate."

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In an especially brutal account, one woman recounts how a girl as young as eight or nine was publicly raped by ISIS (also known as the Islamic State, ISIL, and Daesh) fighters. Witnesses also detail how children and women who try to resist are beaten and threatened with death.

The report quotes another young girl who said she was repeatedly raped in a hall where she was being detained with other women after being abducted by ISIS. Several other women also described how young women and girls were sexually assaulted on a daily basis and would return to the hall, sometimes days later, in a "miserable condition."

Another girl is quoted discussing how she and a 13-year-old girl were sold to fighters, raped, and when they tried to resist, beaten using a pair of shoes.

%shareLinks-quote="I used to hear a lot of cries and screaming from the other girl in the house, as God knows what the man was doing to her. She was too young to understand and probably was very scared." type="quote" author="Girl Under ISIS Captivity" authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%

Many reports over the last few months have highlighted ISIS' barbaric treatment of women living under its control. New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi exposed last August how the group has enshrined a theology of rape among its fighters.

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A 12-year-old girl, whom Callimachi described as so small "an adult could circle her waist with two hands," told her that the ISIS member who raped her prayed before raping her, forced her to pray also and explained to her that because she was an "unbeliever" the Quran not only allowed, but encouraged the rape.

"I kept telling him it hurts -- please stop. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God," she said. The girl escaped after 11 months of captivity.

Quilliam's report notes how Islamic State supporters persecute groups it considers as "other," such as people with different ethnicities and religions. The massacre of Yazidi men and exploitation as sex slaves of Yazidi women is one such example.

ISIS's Global Strategy FindTheData

Never leave the house and produce men

The only future offered to young girls and women by ISIS is a domestic one. From an early age they are taught how to look after the house, the needs of their husband, how to bring up their children according to ISIS ideology, and how to sew and knit.

The report defines the woman's role as "building the Ummah (a community of Muslims), producing men, and sending them out to the fierceness of battle." Girls can be married off at the age of nine and at the latest at 16 or 17, according to Quilliam's research.

The "flowers and pearls of the caliphate," as girls are known, are also expected to be fully veiled, remain hidden and "never leave the house, except in exceptional circumstances," and whenever they leave their home, women have to accompanied by a male relative at all times.

ISIS loyalists also ensure the dress code is strictly adhered to. Patrick Cockburn in The Independent reported that a metal instrument known as the "Biter"was being used on women who failed to appropriately cover themselves. The tool clips off pieces of flesh and is used on parts of the body which are not covered.

"My sister was punished so harshly last month because she had forgotten her gloves and left them at home," a woman who had managed to escape Mosul recounts. Her sister said the pain was worse than labour.

%shareLinks-quote="According to the report, an estimated 31K women living in ISIS territory are pregnant and an estimated 50 children from the UK are growing up there." type="spreadWord"%

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