Profiles of Courage

Here are some extraordinary stories of girls escaping from ISIS — and into the care provided by the brand new shelter:

Six Girls: It began when ISIS militia overran a city in northern Iraq. Hundreds of men were executed on the spot and thrown into mass graves. Grieving, terrified women and girls were held captive, monitored by cameras and guards, drugged, beaten and worse. Then the selling of women and girls began. Some men bought four or more women at a time, raping them repeatedly. Women were passed as gifts or traded from man to man, in an unending nightmare of sexual slavery. One night, 16-year-old Ola managed to slip the drugs meant for her into her captors’ teapot. While the men slept, six girls ran for their lives. “If we stay, we may die every day. If we escape, we might live,” Ola said, and the girls agreed. They made their way on foot for days, weak and bleeding, to a refugee camp in Duhok, northern Iraq. It would have been easy for the girls to be overlooked in this sprawling, desolate place, but OWFI was there, and they took the girls under their wing. They are now among hundreds who have medical care, counseling, nourishing food and human kindness, thanks to OWFI.

Noor: Once, Noor was a typical 15-year-old girl. Like many girls her age, she enjoyed going to school and spending time with her friends. But her whole world changed forever when ISIS invaded her town in northern Iraq. ISIS militias went door to door, rounding up and killing men and boys, and abducting, enslaving and raping girls and women. Noor’s brother was taken away, never to be seen again. And Noor was sold 15 times, passed from one ISIS fighter to the next. Each time, she was raped. Luckily, Noor managed to escape her captors. She made her way, mostly on foot, to a refugee camp. There she met Yanar Mohammed, director of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq. “The worst moments,” Noor told Yanar, “were when one man would sell me to another. And I would have to hear them debating what my life was worth.” What happened to Noor was no accident. It was part of a deliberate strategy by ISIS to terrorize and prey on the most vulnerable — especially young girls. Their pattern has been sickeningly consistent: separate the unmarried girls and young women from their mothers, load them into buses, and send them away to be sold like chattel in slave markets.

Spread the word! 

You can make a difference for so many of these girls, too many of them still only children. The brand new shelter provides support for girls and women like Noor who have escaped sexual slavery by ISIS. They’re almost ready to launch, and they need you! Your support today can provide immediate aid, transportation to our safe houses and medical care. Every girl deserves a safe and happy childhood. Noor is now secure and is slowly beginning to heal from her traumas. But she’s one of the lucky ones. Please tell your friends to help protect even more young girls like Noor with a gift today.

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