ISIS rape victims keep their babies despite threat of being shunned by communities

Yazidi rape victims who escaped captivity courageously chose to keep their babies despite being shunned by their community. Many of them returned home pregnant or with infants in stride.

According to a Lifesite News report, the Yazidi rape victims were turned away because they engaged in sex with non-Yazidi men. Such an occurrence is unacceptable in their religion, even if it was done by force by Islamic State militants.

A refugee woman from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled the violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar, sits with a child inside a tent at Nowruz refugee camp in Qamishli, northeastern Syria August 17, 2014. | REUTERS/Rodi Said

Baba Sheikh, a known leader of the community, said Yazidi women can be welcomed back into their community. However, their children will not be accepted. This may inevitably lead women to get an abortion.

"It is unacceptable in our religion to allow the birth of any children if both parents are not Yazidis," he said to Lifesite News. Many of the victims resorted to abortion to regain acceptance. Abortion is illegal in Iraq but authorities are said to have an "understanding" with the community leaders. Thus, no case was filed against the women who chose this option. 

But not all victims heeded the call to get rid of their children. According to Rezan Dler, a member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives and a practicing lawmaker, there are a lot women who want to keep their babies. The lawyer has been working with the Yazidi victims. "They've indicated they would rather stay under IS slavery if returning home meant losing their babies," Dler said in a Voice Of Amercia interview.

She added, "A Yazidi woman who was pregnant for eight months when she escaped IS, she wanted to keep her baby, but her husband insisted on divorcing her if she refused to have an abortion. The couple finally separated. The woman is now living in a refugee camp with her 5-month-old child."

Dler said that there are also Yazidi women who gave birth and had their children adopted by Kurdish couples who could not have children.

Nofel Hamadi Akub, current governor of Nineveh, told reporters that in his province alone there are reportedly almost 3,000 children of "unknown parentage."