A Yazidi girl held captive by the Islamic State terrorist organization set herself on fire, severely burning 80 percent of her body, in a desperate attempt to stop jihadists from raping her, a German doctor has said.
Doctor Jan Ilhan Kizilhan heads a project that has helped bring over 1,100 women and girls victimized by the militant group to Germany to help heal their physical and emotional wounds through a project started in 2014 which is run by the German state Baden-Wurttemberg.
Kizilhan told AFP that he has personally been told over 1,400 horrifying stories of how the barbaric terrorist group has brutally raped and abused religious minority girls and women who were captured and sexually enslaved.
Kizilhan told of one 8-year-old Yazidi girl who was sold eight different times as an IS sex slave and was also raped hundreds of times by IS fighters in a span of 10 months.
"This is one of the cases I always have in my mind," Kizilhan said, emphasizing that the horrors of IS sex slavery are so bad that one girl even set herself on fire to defend herself from being repeatedly raped by the militants.
He recalled meeting a Yazidi girl at a refugee camp last August who had burns covering over 80 percent of her body. After being raped and tortured for weeks by IS militants, the girl was sleeping in her refugee tent one night when she dreamed that IS militants were outside the tent to get her. In a rush reaction, she poured gas over herself and set herself a light with a match so that IS militants wouldn't want to have sex with her.
"She had no nose, no ears left," the doctor said.
Kizilhan had the girl transported to a hospital immediately because he felt that she would not survive. She has had over a dozen operations and is currently in a hospital in Germany.
As there are believed to be about 3,800 women and girls still being sexually enslaved by the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria, Kizilhan is calling on other German states other than Baden-Wurttemberg to help provide refuge for these girls.
While the state of Baden-Wurttemberg has spent approximately $104 million to provide refuge to women formerly enslaved by IS, Kizilhan explained that programs in other German states would benefit as many as 1,200 other Yazidi women and girls who were once held by IS.
Kizilhan stated that a majority of the girls in the program are between 16 and 20, while the youngest was 8 and the oldest was in her 40s.
"They have been through hell," Kizilhan explained, according to Gulf News. "It is really an urgent situation."
Although some women are lucky enough to escape the grips of IS, most of the Yazidi women and girls that do escape have little access to the psychological help needed to cope with the heinous things that IS militants did to them.
In many cases, Kizilhan said, the Yazidi women who are raped by their captors are shunned by their communities when they return because some feel that they have brought dishonor to their families and community.
"These women really need specialized treatment," Kizilhan said. "If we don't help them, who will?"
Some of the women who are being shunned in the Yazidi community often fall on prostitution to support themselves, while others just kill themselves. Kizilhan says he believes that as many as 150 Yazidi women have committed suicide after escaping from IS.
"Over the last year, I have documented more than 20 cases of suicide, but this is surely just the tip of the iceberg," he contended.