A Picture and Its Story: 'Escape From Islamic State'
Ilham, a Yazidi woman, folds the curtain of the tent where she lives in a refugee camp near Duhok February 26, 2015. Reuters photographer Asmaa Waguih: Ilham was kidnapped by Islamic State in August last year and was transported to Tal Afar along with other girls and women. She was raped several times by one of the militants. When Ilham tried to escape, some people she asked for help handed her back to the militants. She managed to get away a few weeks later. At refugee camps in northern Iraq I met and photographed Yazidi women who had survived being kidnapped by Islamic State. I needed government approval to visit some of the camps. The camp officials wanted to protect the women and were wary of the fact that I had a camera. It took a while for the women to get used to me. But when they did, they were happy to share their stories, to tell me what had happened to them. It is very difficult for women living in a quiet, conservative area to admit they have faced sexual violence. In some cases, I heard from camp officials that a woman had been raped, but when I met her she would speak of the brutality of the militants and then mention knowing that some women had even been raped. In general, escapees would try to find a time when the militants were busy working and then seek help. Sometimes people would agree to hide them and then find cars to take them to other areas. At other times they would return the women to Islamic State. Some had managed to escape in groups. Others had family members still being held by the insurgents. It?s a disastrous situation for these families ? and it?s not over yet. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih