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International Women’s Day: A Time to Focus on the Plight of Yazidi Women Fighting Back

It seems salient on International Women’s Day to remember the thousands of women who have been abused by Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

The terrorist militants have destroyed the lives of a huge number of women, who were kidnapped, raped, tortured and made to work like soulless animals.

The Yazidi women bore the brunt of this abuse. It is well documented Daesh has carried out unimaginable atrocities and have pillaged, murdered and raped countless women and children as young as 8.

Their trauma continues, and will do for many years to come.

International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.

The brave and resilient Yazidi women who survived two years of hell under the brutal regime of Daesh deserve our attention on this day.

As their husbands were killed and they were “sold” within the militants’ sordid network, these women were fighting back. They remained strong against all odds. They looked to the future when darkness prevailed.

One recent story tells of ‘Dalal’, a young Yazidi woman who was kidnapped by Daesh and raped and abused by nine militants. In the story, Dalal is publicly vowing to achieve her dream of becoming a lawyer after surviving the group's horrific abuse.

It’s a story we hope is being read by Daesh militants and their supporters. It holds a powerful message: You tried to extinguish us. You tried to reduce us to animals. You tried to ensure we would have no hope in life. But we are resilient and ready to move forward stronger than ever before.

This encapsulates the spirit of International Women’s Day.

Women who refuse to give up. Women who become symbols of hope when they’ve experienced the worst that life can deal. Women who are carving out a brighter future for other women everywhere, rising up from darkness to light.

Today we remember the women who have fought in the face of extremism and helped protect the lives of many.

 They deserve our recognition. Our admiration. Our respect. They have experienced the unthinkable and refused to be beaten. And now, they’re rebuilding not only their own lives, but also the lives of women everywhere.