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‘They Raped Us; They Killed Our Men’: Psychologist Helps Yazidi Women Recover from Trauma of ISIS Captivity

By Nahlah Ayed, CBC News:

Lodged in the memory of psychologist Dr. Jan Ilhan Kizilhan are the stories of 1,400 girls and women who were once enslaved by ISIS.

The German trauma expert personally interviewed each of them, hearing countless stories of torture and rape. It was, by any measure, a grim and daunting undertaking.

All were Yazidis, a long-persecuted minority. One of the youngest was just eight years old.

“She was, for 10 months, in the hands of the [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] and was raped hundreds of times,” said Kizilhan, 51, a German psychologist and professor with Kurdish roots.

But he couldn’t help all the women.

His agonizing task was to assist German officials who travelled with him to northern Iraq to choose which of the women would have the life-altering opportunity to move to Germany for treatment.

Even as the rest of Germany grappled with accommodating a million asylum seekers in 2015, the government of Baden-Wurttemberg state had unilaterally committed to bringing traumatized Yazidi women and providing them with therapy and housing.

Under a special program, several hundred women and their families — 1,100 people in all — were ultimately airlifted over a year for a rare chance at recovery from hellish post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)…

To read the rest of the article visit CBC News.

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