I would like to thank the UN women for the great opportunity of allowing me to be part of their mission to help empower women in Kurdistan of Iraq to have a voice of their own. I had the privilege of going to Kurdistan of Iraq to start training in three cities namely Sulaimanya, Arbil, and Duhuk. I was so inspired by the energy those young people had and their desire to learn and take what they have learned back to their communities. I am deeply honored to be able to give back to my homeland and help victim service agencies learn from my experience working with Middle Eastern women immigrants and refugees in the United States who experience victimization. During my time there, I provided a two week training on Psychological First Aid to employees of organizations that work with displaced people.
I also I would like to thank the Heartland Foundation for the great opportunity of allowing me to be part of their mission to help empower Yezidi Women in Kurdistan of Iraq to provide accessibility of coping skills during their difficult times that would enable them to overcome their trauma. I had the privilege of going to Kurdistan of Iraq to start training in the city of Duhuk. I was so inspired by the energy of the Yezidi women and their eagerness to learn in order to help themselves and people around them. I am deeply honored to be able to give back to my homeland and empower Yezidi women to overcome trauma. From my experience working with Middle Eastern women immigrants and refugees in the United States who experience victimization enabled me to connect and help the women with the healing process
Findings about Yezidi women
Majority of the Yezidi women were sexually abused by ISIS in the city of Shangar ranging from seven year old girl to fifty five year old women. The women were sexually assaulted multiple times around ten times by different men in ISIS. They separated the girls who were virgins and sold them to men in Saudi Arabia and those who were not virgins were sexually assaulted by the ISIS men. Most of the women were victims of high risk of mental health trauma living in the refugee camps. The ISIS men urinated on older women over the age of fifty in order to humiliate them. The Yezidi women were forced to convert from Yezidi religion to Islamic religion and also took away lots of their belongings as well as their gold jewelry and money. Majority of the participants were widows with maximum of five children. For some young women their fathers were killed in front of them and later were sexually assaulted in front of their father’s body. A woman hung herself in order to avoid getting sexually assaulted. However, ISIS men assaulted that woman after she died. They also destroyed their religious place of worship and also killed the Yezidi religious leader. They separated boys 0-6 years old and 7 years old and above. Boys 0-6 years old were not affected but after seven years old these boys were taken and were provided with training by ISIS to work against their communities. The Yezidi women asked ISIS why are you doing this to us and they responded by saying you are not Muslim.