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My Speech on Yazidi Women

My Speech on Yazidi Women

I met her on a dark night, in Baadre, a Yazidi village, on the border of Mosul, in Iraq.  It was the beginning of 2015. She was staying with other women who were saved from Islamic State, ISIS.

Baadre was one of the biggest Yazidi village in South Kurdistan.  The village is just 5 km. from Mosul. When ISIS occupied Mosul, most of the villagers left. Now, the village is home to the Yazidi women who were kidnapped, raped and later saved from ISIS.


Her name was İlwin. 27 members of her family were killed by ISIS. She was sold multiple times in the slave bazaars.  She was trying to tell me about her 76 dark days with ISIS, but had difficulty finding the words.

When we talk about women, it is always hard to learn what happened during the massacres, wars and genocides. Both women and men are affected by the violence and massacres. It is always different for women.

When we talk about women, there is always a deep silence. We can only see the tip of the iceberg. Women who face sexual violence during the massacres also fear that their “honour” and their families’ “honour” have been tarnished. Most of these women cannot return to their families.  

It is very important for international institutions like the UN, EU and others, to take action in protecting women in massacres and wars. We, as women activists, urge international institutions, not only to define the crimes against women during the wars, massacres and genocides, but also to apply serious sanctions to the countries and organizations who use sexual violence as a tool in wars and genocides. We want international institutions to apply sanctions to the countries who directly or indirectly support ISIS. We want international institutions and courts to develop a single mechanism for women where they can easily apply to the human rights courts. We want international institutions and courts to listen to these women and to draw the attention of the public to sexual violence in wars, genocides and massacres and its horrible effects.

I would like to finish with the words of İlwin, from Baadre:

“Take me to an international court. I want to tell the world everything I faced. I want them to be embarrassed. I want the international institutions, the big courts, the governments, the whole world to be embarrassed. Today, in the 21stcentury, ISIS kidnaps, rapes and sells women in slave bazaars, and the world is just watching.”

I believe, we, the women of the world, human beings, together with international institutions, can do more for these women! Tomorrow is too late, lets do it today!

Nurcan Baysal

25 August, 2016, Diyarbakır

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Nurcan Baysal