As Iraqi forces close in on the militant-held city of Mosul, a support center for women and girls in Dahuk is gearing up to receive women and girls who have been held captive and sexually assaulted by Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL).
The Dahuk Women and Girls Support Centre, which is sponsored by the Dahuk regional government and the United Nations Population Fund, opened 2 years ago to help give medical and psychological help to women, mostly Iraq Yazidis, who have suffered abuse under the hands of ISIS militants.
The center says that they have helped more than 800 women this year giving them medical and psychosocial therapy.
Most recently, they are receiving multiple women fleeing from Mosul and surrounding areas.
Dr. Naam Nawzat, the gynecologist at the support center, describes some of the trauma cases as being “beyond my capabilities”.
Zeina, whose identity has been hidden at her request, says she was held captive for a year and 3 months and sold 5 times before finally escaping in September last year.
She says she suffers from depression and has even tried to commit suicide multiple times. Coming to the center, she says, has helped her overcome her anger.
ISIS fighters swept into the Sinjar region of northern Iraq in 2014, home to the majority of the world’s Yazidis.
They rounded up the Yazidis into three groups: Young boys who were made to fight for ISIS, older males who were killed, and women and girls who were sold into slavery.
Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled to the mountains, where the militants surrounded them in the scorching summer heat. The US, Iraq, Britain, France and Australia flew in water and other supplies, but many Yazidis died before they could be rescued.