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“I saw my ISIS captor and rapist in Canada”: Former Yazidi sex slave
“I saw my ISIS captor and rapist in Canada”: Former Yazidi sex slave
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“I saw my ISIS captor and rapist in Canada”: Former Yazidi sex slave 

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On Friday, March 8th, members from Toronto’s Yezidi community held a rally at Nathan Phillips Square to raise awareness for the plight of their people still held captive in Iraq and Syria and to call on the Canadian government and UN for action. 

The event was coordinated by Project Abraham, a group dedicated to the resettlement and integration of the Yezidi community in the GTA.

The Yezidis are the indigenous peoples of Iraq and Syria, and have experienced some of the worst human rights abuses since ISIS took over the Sinjar region in 2014. 

Dr. Mavis Himes a clinical psychologist who spoke at the rally said “I have never seen this level of trauma, both personal and communal” in reference to the work she has done with the Yezidi community.

When you hear about ISIS selling girls chained up in cages as young as 10, those are Yezidi girls. Or the story about the 50 decapitated sex slaves found by the SAS, those were Yezidi women. And then there’s the countless massacres of men and women in Iraq and Syria, that is the ongoing genocide of the Yezidi people.

Perhaps the most shocking testimony from the women who survived ISIS was when one ISIS survivor said that she saw her captive and rapist here in Canada.  Even more heartbreaking was the fact that when she spoke, she hid behind a few signs so her rapist would not come and find her.

It says a lot about the hollowness of our allegedly feminist government, that a survivor of sexual slavery does not have the confidence in the Canadian government to protect her from ISIS here in Canada. 

It also shows the harm of this sham of “rehabilitation” for ISIS fighters that the Trudeau government is touting.  Not only have we not seen a single “reformed” extremist speak out, all we see is the terror of their victims manifest in a country meant to keep them safe.

To make matters worse it seems that almost nobody in mainstream media and politics cares about the plight of the Yezidi people. Multiple organizers and Yezidi activists reached out to all the mainstream media outlets and politicians, including CBC, CTV, CP24 and the Toronto Star. 

The only one to get back to the organizers was CTV who told them that their editors said that the story was not interesting enough.  Who knows maybe they felt that on International Women’s day articles about the debunked “wage gap” are more important than women experiencing genocide and sexual slavery.

Of all the organizations and politicians reached out to, only B’nai Brith and Andrew Scheer’s office sent representatives. The Yezidis also mentioned Conservative Shadow minister Michelle Rempel and MP Garnett Genuis as being very helpful to their cause. 

Toronto mayor John Tory and his staff were “too busy” to show support even though the rally was literally right outside their offices.

In total the Yezidis have 3 requests for the international community.

1: To have coalition forces search the remaining 3,000 Yezidi women still in captivity, as they say the families of the ISIS fighters often hide their people to continue using them as slaves or livestock.

2: To help them form an autonomous region in Iraq or Syria for Yezidis and other religious minorities like Assyrian Christians, since they claim that all Islamic communities, not just ISIS, but Kurds and Iraqi/Syrian nationalists have participated in their abuse and consider them infidels

3:   To help them reunite with their family members still trapped in Iraq and Syria.

Considering the level of abuse their community has suffered while the international community has turned a blind eye it seems like it’s the least we can do.  Plus, this international women’s day, it might be a nice change of pace to actually help an oppressed group of women today.

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