WARNING: There are graphic descriptions in the story that are not intended for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.
As you may already know, ISIS targets Christian minorities. More than 5,000 Yazidi women were captured and enslaved by the terror group when they attacked the city of Sinjar in northern Iraq in August 2014.
Seivan Salim, an Iraqi female photographer, found some of the women who managed to escape, to capture their stories both in photographs and words.
In a series of minimalist photos the women (some of them are still girls) wear the traditional white Yazidi wedding dress – a symbol of purity. They keep their faces covered for anonymity.
Salim has photographed many women ISIS once enslaved, and each has a unique story. Here are just a few of the tales of the brutality these resilient women survived. For more, you can visit the Daily Mail.
Stories from Yazidi slaves:
PERLA, 21. From Kojo, Sinjar. Captured August 15, 2014. Held for 10 months
A Man took us to a farm where we hardly ate anything for eight days. They registered our names then they sold us. Each time they took around four or five girls and sold them. Then came back again to take more of us.
One person bought me and brought me to Raqqa. He took me to an underground prison. I stayed there with other girls for twelve days. They came and hit my friends because they didn’t convert to Islam. One day they came to sell me again. There were five men one of whom was French. He asked me if I knew how to cook and if I spoke Arabic. I told him I didn’t.
He told me that I would learn and took me with him. He only took me to sell me again, this time to an old man from Saudi Arabia who lived with a Jordanian. I stayed in their house where they brought me a black abaya and some food. They left me in a room on the ground floor without locking it. I put on the abaya and ran away.
ROOBA, 28. From Kojo, Sinjar. Captured August 15, 2014. Held for 10 months
We were in Tal Afar for two months then they brought us to Raqqa in Syria. There were about three hundred of us girls there, in a big hall. All the women had babies who cried because they were so hungry. The children were only given one egg a day.
They put us all in a big room, locked the door and didn’t give us any water. Then one day they brought us to another building. On the front was written something like ‘area for selling’ and there I was sold to a forty year-old man from Saudi Arabia.
He asked me to marry him and when I refused he pointed to three objects sitting on his table; a knife, a gun, and rope. He said he’d use all three if I didn’t say yes. I refused over and over again, so he beat me. He beat my niece, who is only 3 years-old.
I was sold again, this time to a single man who wanted to marry me. I refused with all my might and again was beaten, and again they beat my little niece. He tried to rape me and when he couldn’t he sold me again.
In the new house I did all the work: cleaning, cooking and washing. The man who bought me said that he had to sleep with me to make me a real Muslim. I told him that if he slept with me I would become his wife and then I would not be a slave any more. His wife threatened to leave if he slept with me.
She got very angry at my niece because she couldn’t speak Arabic: she put pepper in her mouth and locked her in a room without water; she beat her so much you can still see the wounds today.
SYHAN, 30. From Kojo, Sinjar. Captured August 15, 2014. Held for 10 months
Syhan fell pregnant during her captivity and escaped when she was in her eighth month. She stayed in Turkey for two months until the baby was born.
She came back to northern Iraq but wasn’t able to bring the baby with her from Turkey; she doesn’t know where he is.
AZHIN, 22. From Kojo, Sinjar. Date of capture August 15, 2014. Held for 11 months
A man from Saudi Arabia bought me and I was taken to a house where two other men lived as well. I begged him to let me be with my sister. He hit me on the head with his pistol until I bled. They didn’t take me to the hospital. Instead they took me back to the prison while I was still unconscious.
My sister was sold three days later and I was heartbroken. But, we were reunited when I was sold later – along with seven other girls – to the same people. We were kept in a house during the day. Different men would come and pick us up for the night. There was not enough food and we couldn’t wash.
I was sold again, and then again, but this time I was given as a present. I was forced to have sex up to six times per night. They always fastened my legs and arms when they raped me.
One time I tried to run away but they caught me again. They didn’t feed me for six days and three times a day they would give me twelve lashes with a cable. I don’t know anything about my mum, dad and brothers. All I know is that my sisters were captured too.
DELVIN, 27. From Kojo, Sinjar. Captured August 15, 2014. Held for four months
They separated the women from the others and brought us to a school where we stayed for two months. Then they moved us to several different places. I don’t know exactly where. At last we arrived to Raqqa, in Syria. After twelve days they sent me to a Syrian family.
I was pregnant and I had other children with me. They were very cruel to us. Even though I was pregnant they would beat me and try to have sex with me. If I didn’t accept to have sex with the men of the family, they would force me anyway.
They raped me over and over again. I was sold again, this time to a family from Saudi Arabia. They took one of the boys who was with me to be trained as a jihadi. I never saw him again. I stayed there for a month and a half. I moved again to another city where my baby was born. I was raped there too, despite the fact that I just had given birth.
SHADI, 18. From Kojo, Sinjar. Captured August 15, 2014. Held for five months
There was an American man there, who did not speak Arabic. He told me that I must marry him to become Muslim. He asked me to wash myself and then marry him. I told him that I was pregnant and could not have sex, so he brought me to a doctor and when he found out that I lied he beat me.
He tied my hands with a cable and raped me. We tried to escape many times. Each time he would find us, aided either by the militia at the checkpoints, or people who lied to us and instead of helping us would call him.
Every time he’d beat us more and more. There were people in Aleppo, however, who were just trying to survive. I knew this, and I knew that I just needed to get lucky and find one. We tried and tried, until somebody helped us. We escaped, but still we don’t know anything about my uncles, my cousins and my brothers.