sex slaves

Attention Washington Post: ISIS forced women from several religious faiths into sexual slavery

Attention Washington Post: ISIS forced women from several religious faiths into sexual slavery

The Islamic State isn't making as much news as it once did, as the so-called caliphate continues to decline in size and, in some ways, power. However, it leaves behind a complex legacy of persecution, torture, slavery and, yes, genocide.

There are many victims with stories to tell and it's clear that some journalists and diplomats have not mastered all of the details of this tragedy.

Consider the Washington Post story that ran the other day with this headline: "‘Somebody had to tell these stories’: An Iraqi woman’s ordeal as an ISIS sex slave." It's a horrifying and important story.

The Post international desk did a fine job of presenting the story of Yazidi survivor Nadia Murad. That's important, since the Yazidis remain an obscure religious minority for most American readers.

But there is a problem: The Post report never mentions that the Yazidis were not alone. Christians, Shia Muslims and others suffered the same fate, with mothers, fathers and sons slaughtered and girls sold as sexual slaves. As Secretary of State John Kerry said in 2016:

... (In) my judgment, Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions -- in what it says, what it believes, and what it does. Daesh is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities.

Kerry went on to specifically say that "Daesh captured and enslaved thousands of Yezidi women and girls -- selling them at auction, raping them at will, and destroying the communities in which they had lived for countless generations." He added: "We know that in Mosul, Qaraqosh, and elsewhere, Daesh has executed Christians solely because of their faith ... and that it has also forced Christian women and girls into sexual slavery."

The problem isn't that the Post focused so tightly on the details of Murad's story, since her testimony is what this report is all about. The problem is in the summary paragraphs that failed to inform readers that women and girls in other religious minorities suffered the same faith.

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Weird case of godless former sex slave: Hey Reuters, are you really that afraid of religion!?

Weird case of godless former sex slave: Hey Reuters, are you really that afraid of religion!?

It's impossible to tell Jennifer Kempton's story without mentioning God.

But give Reuters, um, credit for trying.

This week's otherwise riveting profile of Kempton — with the headline "Former sex slave helps women reclaim their branded bodies with new tattoos" — suffers from an obvious, God-sized hole.

This is one of those holy ghosts (click here if you're not familiar with that oft-used GetReligion term) that must be intentional. There's simply no other explanation (more on that in a moment).

But first, the lede from Reuters:

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - After escaping years of sexual slavery, Jennifer Kempton could not look in the mirror without being taken back to her dark, traumatic past.
On her neck was tattooed the name of one of her traffickers along with his gang's crown insignia. Above her groin were the words "Property of Salem" - the name of the former boyfriend who forced her into prostitution nine years ago.
"Slaves have been branded for centuries and it's just evolved into being tattooed. It's happening all over the world," said Kempton who suffered horrific brutality during six years working on the streets of Columbus, Ohio.
Today the tattoo on her neck has been transformed into a large flower "blooming out of the darkness". Three other brandings have been masked with decorative, symbolic motifs.
Two years ago Kempton, now 34, set up a charity called Survivor's Ink to help others who have escaped enslavement get their brandings covered up or removed.
"It was very empowering for me so I wanted to pay forward that liberation to other girls in my area who had been branded like cattle, just like I was," Kempton told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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ABC News' 20/20 sets record straight on Kayla Mueller's witness to her Christian faith

ABC News' 20/20 sets record straight on Kayla Mueller's witness to her Christian faith

The story of Kayla Mueller, a 25-year-old American aid worker in Turkey whose quick trip over the Syrian border to Aleppo in August 2013 turned into a hellish captivity ending with her death in February 2015, got new life last week when ABC News 20/20 ran an hour-long special: "The Girl Left Behind."

We've reported on how the network, which has been following Mueller’s story for years, has sounded confused as to whether Kayla's faith played a role at all in her travails. Now they've come up with many new details about her captivity, including a tortuous final year where she was forcibly “married” to ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. even though she had not converted to Islam, as has been alleged before. Plus, she had stood up to the notorious “Jihadi John” about her Christian faith.

ABC went out of its way to emphasize the latter with this headline to their story: “Kayla Mueller in captivity: Courage, selflessness as she defended Christian faith to ISIS executioner ‘Jihadi John.’ Here is how the written summary begins:

American hostage Kayla Mueller was tortured, verbally abused, forced into slave labor for ISIS commanders in Syria and raped by the group's top leader, but her fellow hostages say she never surrendered hope, she selflessly put the welfare of fellow captives above her own and she even stood up to executioner "Jihadi John" to defend her Christian faith.
Four former hostages who shared cells with Mueller, speaking publicly for the first time about their shared ordeal for ABC News' "20/20" broadcast, "The Girl Left Behind," airing Friday, say the Prescott, Arizona, humanitarian aid worker was a courageous 25-year-old who inspired them.

The report, narrated by investigative correspondent Brian Ross, had come up with lots of new details and new video (see above) about her 18 months of captivity.

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ISIS, rape and birth control: Stunning New York Times feature raises new questions

ISIS, rape and birth control: Stunning New York Times feature raises new questions

There are certain stories that, when you see the headline, you drop everything and click until the piece pops up in living color on your screen. Such is Sunday’s New York Times piece on ISIS’ rape culture. “To maintain supply of sex slaves,” the headline reads, “ISIS pushes birth control.”

When it comes to covering ISIS, one thinks things can't get any more horrifying and then more revelations come out about worse atrocities in the sad lands under their sway. Moreover, the story was set in Dohuk, an Iraqi city I visited 11 years ago, where a lot of these poor women who’ve escaped ISIS end up before they’re shipped out of the area for asylum purposes.

DOHUK, Iraq -- Locked inside a room where the only furniture was a bed, the 16-year-old learned to fear the sunset, because nightfall started the countdown to her next rape.
During the year she was held by the Islamic State, she spent her days dreading the smell of the ISIS fighter’s breath, the disgusting sounds he made and the pain he inflicted on her body. More than anything, she was tormented by the thought she might become pregnant with her rapist’s child.
It was the one thing she needn’t have worried about.
Soon after buying her, the fighter brought the teenage girl a round box containing four strips of pills, one of them colored red.
“Every day, I had to swallow one in front of him. He gave me one box per month. When I ran out, he replaced it. When I was sold from one man to another, the box of pills came with me,” explained the girl, who learned only months later that she was being given birth control.

Apparently there is quite the import business in contraceptives going on in eastern Syria and northern Iraq where ISIS has its female Yazidi prisoners. The piece continues:

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