by Paula KweskinGlobal attention has turned to Iraq where Islamic militants have taken over sections of Iraq. The human rights abuses are startling, and women and girls have been under systematic attack and at risk of unspeakable horrors.
Yet even among the tragedy, there are stories of bravery and determination.Several Yazidi girls, kidnapped by militants from the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq, have been able to flee from their captors and have, miraculously, made it to Kurdish-controlled territory.
Amid sheer terror at the fate that waited for them – to be raped and sold into forced marriages - they overcame their panic, focused on freedom and have bravely told their stories.Adeba Shaker, only 14 years old, and another girl were being held at a house in Raabia, Iraq by a gang of ISIS militants. Adeba had been trafficked from her village in northern Iraq, taken to the Syrian border and given as a “gift” to fighters on the front line. She was to be forcibly converted from her faith and sold into marriage.
After an emergency phone call, all the fighters grabbed their guns and ran out, leaving Shaker and the other girl alone with the house unlocked for the first time in 20 days. Shaker found a bag of cell phones and called her brother who told her to ask for help from a neighbor for directions to the border where Kurdish fighters controlled the territory.Realizing the gamble of asking the wrong person, Shaker nonetheless followed his instructions. Thankfully, the neighbor they asked directed the girls to the border, a front-line location itself. Shaker says, “I couldn’t walk straight, my legs were shaking and my heart was beating so fast. We ran and walked and we never looked back."
After two hours walking, they began to hear the sound of gunfire. Soon they saw a group of Kurdish fighters and ran to them."I was crying and laughing at the same time," she said. “We were free.”