Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Investigating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence as a Weapon of War and a Tool of Genocide against Indigenous Yazidi Women and Girls by ISIS in Iraq

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  • In the current armed conflicts that have become known to the international community since the sweeping attacks on northern Iraq on Aug. 3, 2014, the Islamic State (ISIS) perpetrated extreme forms of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against a small ancient ethno-religious conservative Yazidi group. ISIS has used SGBV against Yazidi women and girls as an integral part of their military strategy, as a weapon of war, and as a tool of ethnic cleansing and genocide. ISIS employed SGBV as a cheap weapon of war that can achieve many strategic goals at the same time. Thus, ISIS used multiple forms of SGBV such as torture, abduction, slavery, systemic rape and other heinous crimes against the Yazidi women and their families. These crimes included the massacre of men, babies, seniors and disabled women. In addition, ISIS caused the complete destruction of Yazidi villages which caused the displacement of thousands of people. Some of these women and girls are survivors of ISIS captivity, and their current living conditions constitute a human rights crisis. This research was designed to explore and provide a better understanding of how and why ISIS used SGBV and to shed light on its multiple dimensions. It aims to illustrate how the survivors are coping with trauma and to explain the challenges that they continue to face in the aftermath of the ISIS invasions.
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