Feyziye has recounted her traumatic experiences at the hands of ISIS to Yeni Özgür Politika. In its most recent coverage of her experiences, Feyziye detailed how she was sold to six ISIS members as a slave during the one and a half years that she was held in Tal Afar, Raqqa and surrounding towns.
The ISIS members sexually abused her, raped her and physically and mentally tortured her during this time. “The ISIS members used talk to us everyday, trying to persuade us to ‘choose’ Islam. We had never talked to them, never responded to them. One day they transferred us to Kesen Meheb in Tal Afar, where the ‘thought of Islam’ was taught to us for three months.”
After these “how to be a Muslim” instruction classes, the Yazidi women were taken to Mosul and then back to Tal Afar. “They always changed our location. We were always on the move. The last time we were brought to Tal Afar, they have given us a mission to feed the sheep, to make cheese and yoghurt with their milk.”
Feyziye recounted her traumatic experiences because she felt the need to highlight what had happened to her and other women at the hands of ISIS. She spoke as fast as she could, clearly affected by her memories, her hands shaking even though her face looked ice cold.
“This is the first time I have spoken since I was liberated from the hands of ISIS. This is the first time I am telling my story out loud.”
Feyziye and other Yazidi women were taken from Tal Afar one after another after they have been held there for some months. “First, they took the men. Then, children older than eight. Finally, they took girls aged between eight and ten. We had no idea where they were taking them. Those of us who were left behind were taken to a school building in Heyli Xatira.”
After being held in Heyli Xatira for few days, Feyziye and other Yazidi women were taken to a bus at 8am one morning. After almost a 24-hour long journey, they reached Raqqa. But on their way, they passed through Sinjar, she remembers.
“When passing through Sinjar, our hearts trembled. Sinjar was wrecked. ISIS members were all over the town. Since we were not allowed to talk with each other, we had all looked at each other and shared our pain with our eyes. I do not know the path the bus took exactly, but if I took a bus from the same place, I would describe the road to Raqqa. I have never forgotten how those roads looked like.”
In Raqqa, the Yazidi women were held in the basement of an empty house for 20 days. “Everything was forbidden. We faced extremely harsh circumstances, mentally and physically as well. We were hungry and we were exhausted. Then, they listed our names on a piece of paper. I still had my children with me luckily, but I saw mothers whose children were taken away from them since they were of a certain age. My children were my only consolation.”
The next prison for the Yazidi women was Tadmor, where the women were given Islamic courses and they were forced to perform Islamic fasting.
“We were all Yazidi, but we were doing exactly what we were told. We were apologising to ‘Tawûsê Melek’ [the Yazidi name for the Peacock Angel: the central figure of the Yazidi faith]. We used to pray to our god Tawûsê Melek to forgive us.”
After another session of ‘forced conversion to Islam sessions,’ the Yazidi women were taken again on a journey, the end of which was unknown to all of them.
“They took us to a home full of ISIS members. They showed us to them as they sat, one by one. In a way, we were presented to them. All ISIS members would take two or even more women. They were selling us in return for money.”
Feyziye was sold in return for money as a slave to an ISIS member, who was from Saudi Arabia. “He bought three women in total, me and two other women for very little money. Then, this man sold me and another woman to another man for a much higher price.”
A man named Yusuful Iraqi ‘bought’ Feyziye. She knows that he came from Iraq. This Iraqi man raped Feyziye many times and also tortured her.
“I considered everything to get away from his hands. The only solution I never considered was death, because I had my children and I had to live for them. When I was crying and screaming at the hands of the Iraqi man, my children would hear my screams, silently sitting in a corner in the house.”
Yusuful Iraqi sold Feyziye to another ISIS member after two months. This ISIS member was from Saudi Arabia and Feyziye states he did not hurt her during the five days she spent with him until he sold her to another ISIS member from Raqqa.
“This man from Raqqa treated me so horribly. He raped me and tortured me every day. For the 23 days he held me in captivity, he did everything to me. I was trying so hard to protect my children from him. I was hiding them all the time, telling them not to walk around when he comes home.”
Feyziye was then sold to another man, again an ISIS member. “This man neither treated me badly or well. I asked him to sell me back to my family. He asked me how to reach my family. I had carved the telephone number of my husband to my hairclip before, so I gave him the number to contact my family. He called my family, but my family did not believe what he was saying.”
The ISIS member then sold Feyziye to another ISIS member from Saudi Arabia, named Ebu Shecaha. This man also agreed to sell Feyziye to her family. Then, she was sold to a person she calls “Muharıb,” a sort of mediator between ISIS and the families, who hides the Yazidi women and their children and then returns them to their families for a certain amount of money.
This mediator finally convinced her family that Feyziye and her children were actually with him, sending their videos and pictures with him to them. The mediator gave Feyziye a black hijab, which Yazidi women were not normally allowed to wear, as she explained.
“The ISIS members did not make us wear the black hijab, because they wanted us to be visibly apparent all the time, so that we were not able to escape.”
Speaking emotionally of her last days of her year-and-a-half of slavery, Feyziye stated: “They handed me over to my family at the border of Sinjar and sold me to my family in return of ransom money.”
When she was asked what her biggest dream now is, she repeatedly said: “All I want is for the ISIS members who enslaved me and the other Yazidi women to be judged by us. I want ISIS members to be put on trial by the Yazidi women. I will never forget what ISIS has done to me and to Yazidi women. I was raped for days on end, my hands all bound. They did this to all Yazidi women. And humanity failed the test, given what we were put through.”
The first part of the story of Feyziye can be read on Medya News via this link.