That same day, Prince Tahseen Said, leader of the Yazidi people, issued an “urgent distress call” to the international community to “to assume their humanitarian and nationalistic responsibilities” and help the 40,000 Yazidis who had fled their homes in the district. Aged 19, she lived in the quiet farming village of Kocho, within the area around Sinjar ISIS had selected for “purification”.
Before the Isis militants arrived, she lived with her large family of brothers and sisters and was studying at high school, harbouring dreams of becoming a history teacher and perhaps a make-up artist.
No need to share DVDs among multiple classes, or keep track of them, or store them, or replace one when somebody mistakes it for a frisbee.
Whole ethnic groups are being eradicated.” In other words, it is genocide – as US Secretary of State John Kerry asserted at a press conference in March, saying in unvarnished terms that Isis “is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiia Muslims”.
It is a stated aim of Isis to “ethnically cleanse” the region of non-Muslims, and the Yazidi – whose religion is an amalgamation of aspects of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Islam, thought to have been founded in the 11th Century – are in the group's sights. Under Ottoman rule in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Yazidi were subjected to no fewer than 72 individual massacres, killing thousands.
She had by this point lost 18 members of her family.
Lamiya tried to escape several times before finally managing to flee with the help of people smugglers who were paid by her family, but not before a landmine exploded leaving her injured and almost blind.
Before they escaped and were brought to the West, both women had suffered unspeakable brutality at the hands of their captors, who routinely kidnap women and children to “give” to the faithful Isis soldiers and trade in modern slavery markets in Isis-controlled territories.
Indeed, the phrase “Isis sex slaves” has passed into common currency...
Rape as a weapon of war is nothing new, and was widely utilised in the Balkan conflicts, especially in Bosnia, in the 1990s.
But the Serb forces who (predominantly) used it seemed to do so as part of the overall assault on other ethnic groups, a side effect, perhaps, of the conflict, merely one weapon in their arsenal.
“It is not only the fact that they are being raped,” says Dr Brown.
She has to choose her words carefully so as not to lessen the impact of this brutality while at the same time bringing in the bigger picture.
LGBTQ DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE & TRAINING PROJECT (slide presentations), Community United Against Violence, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center. PREVENTING AND RESPONDING TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER, OR QUEER (LGBTQ) COMMUNITIES (special collection), Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse, in partnership with National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, July 2013., Ted Heck, Virginia Anti-Violence Project, Afton Bradley, Fan Free Clinic, Stacie Vecchietti, Safe Harbor, Jackie Small, Virginia Anti-Violence Project and Quillin Drew Musgrave, Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Richmond, VA: October 22, 2014.