Middle East

Former Yazidi sex slave faints while confronting rapist in a TV interview

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Ashwaq Haji Hamid confronts her rapist in an emotionally charged interview played in her home country.

At just 14 years old, Ashwaq Haji Hamid was kidnapped by IS and sold for $100 as a sex slave.

In an interview recorded by the Iraqi National Intelligence Service and broadcast on Al-Iraqiya news channel last Tuesday, she confronts the man who bought her and violently raped her multiple times a day.

In the interview, Ms Hamid breaks into tears as she asks her former captor, Abu Humam, to explain why he raped her. 

“I was 14 years old when you raped me. Look up. Do you have feelings? Do you have honour?” she said.

Mr Humam stands, handcuffed in his prison uniform, and refuses to meet Ms Hamid’s gaze as she questions him.

“You destroyed my life. You robbed me of all my dreams. I was once held by Isis, by you, but now you will feel the meaning of torment, torture, and loneliness.

“If you have any feelings, you would not have raped me when I was 14, the age of your son, the age of your daughter.”

Ms Hamid faints shortly after this.

Ashraq Haji Hamid confronts her former captor in a television interview.
Ashraq Haji Hamid confronts her former captor in a television interview.
Al-Iraqiya news channel

It’s not the first time she’s seen her captor Abu Humam since escaping IS.

When Ms Hamid fled to Germany to start a new life, she came across Mr Hamam on the street and he told her he knew where she lived.

She returned to Iraq.

In 2014, thousands of Yazidis were killed by Isis fighters in a violent attack.

Authorities say that more than 6,400 Yazidis were abducted by IS and only half of them were able to flee or be rescued.

In the interview, Ms Hamid tells of how after the raid on Sinjar, the ancestral heartland in Iraq for the Yazidi people, IS members separated the Yazidis and sold the women and girls to fighters in Syria and Iraq.

“Abu Humam, look up. Why did you do this to me? Why? Because I’m Yazidi,” she said.

“We were worried and didn’t know what would become of us, and whether we would be killed or not.”

She says she was among 300-400 Yazidi girls and women who were taken to Mosul to be sold.

However, some trauma experts warn that this form of confrontation has the potential to re-open the deep wounds of victims and re-traumatise them.

One Kurdish-German psychologist who works with Yazidis suffering from trauma told the Daily Telegraph: “They cared about the ratings of the show more than her.”

While another Yazidi activist now living in the US, Nibras Khudaida said in a tweet show pushed her past her emotional threshold.

“It’s shame that the Iraqi TV show invited the rapist and the Yazidi girl to meet for the first time on TV," she said.

"She is clearly not recovered yet. When will the men understand how to treat these women?”.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

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