Home News ISIS’ Use of Sexual Violence as a Technique of Terrorism in Iraq

ISIS’ Use of Sexual Violence as a Technique of Terrorism in Iraq


The sudden advance of the terrorist organisation, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in 2014 began a violent civil warfare in Iraq. This battle led to excessive instability within the already weakened nation, and to this present day, almost two million individuals stay internally displaced in Iraq (GCT, 2021). The previous couple of many years have been marked by battle in Iraq with the Gulf Battle and the US invasion of 2003. This collection of conflicts has uncovered ethnic minorities and ladies to increased ranges of violence (Dodge et al, 2018 p.18). Since ISIS declared itself as a Caliphate in 2014 and imposed the Sharia regulation, a widespread rise in human rights abuses has been noticed, with a selected deal with sexual violence (Dahham, 2016 p.3). To additional its Sunni fundamentalist ideology, ISIS has notably focused ethnic and spiritual minorities, with the attribute instance of the Yazidi neighborhood that was notably devastated by the terrorist organisation (Kaya, 2019 p.10). Sexual violence in conflicts just isn’t a brand new or distinctive phenomenon. It’s a tactic that has been used for hundreds of years, however the tutorial literature solely began to deal with the difficulty within the Nineties after the systematic use of sexual violence within the Rwandan genocide (1994), and within the Balkan Battle (1991-1999) (Skjelsbaek, 2001 p.211). If the definition of sexual violence has advanced all through time, we’ll use Wooden’s definition of sexual violence in conflicts as ‘sexual violence by armed organisations throughout armed conflicts’ (Wooden, 2014 p.458). It is very important spotlight that sexual violence doesn’t solely confer with rape. The United Nations’ (UN) definition additionally consists of sexual slavery, pressured prostitution, pressured being pregnant, pressured sterilisation or any type of sexual violence of comparable gravity (UN Normal Meeting, 2002 in Dahham 2016, p.5). If these acts are criminalised by worldwide regulation, the perpetrators are not often prosecuted for these actions as they’re broadly underreported and sometimes confounded with extra basic warfare crimes (Dahham, 2016 p.5).

This essay will deal with the widespread use of sexual violence within the civil battle in Iraq, by answering the query of why ISIS used sexual violence as a method of terror and destruction in Iraq. This query inscribes itself in a broader tutorial debate in regards to the impression that sexual violence can have in a battle, the strategic advantages of utilizing sexual violence for a terrorist group and, lastly, on why sexual violence must be conceptualised as a method of terror and destruction fairly than as an remoted act associated to the warzone. This essay will argue that sexual violence is strategically utilized by the terrorist group in a wider technique of terrorising the inhabitants, to be able to strengthen its state constructing technique by ethnic cleaning of non-Muslim communities. To reply this query, this essay will take a look at the case research of the Yazidi, a non secular neighborhood situated within the Sinjar. The Yazidi neighborhood has been notably focused by means of sexual violence when invaded by ISIS in 2014, and a few organisations at the moment are making an attempt to recognise this systematic destruction as a genocide in opposition to the Yazidis (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.3). This analysis shall be divided in 4 components. We are going to firstly analyse the literature on sexual violence in conflicts. The second half will deal with a methodological word about the usage of a case research. The third half will talk about the difficulty of the systematisation of sexual violence in Iraq, from the State to ISIS and can analyse how ISIS mirrored the actions of the Iraqi authorities relating to the usage of sexual violence. Lastly, we’ll deal with the case research of the Yazidis and draw concrete observations on the impression that sexual violence can have when used as a weapon of terror.

Literature evaluate on sexual violence in conflicts

This primary part seeks to analyse the prevailing literature on the methods behind the usage of sexual violence in conflicts. Skjelbaesk (2001 p.212) argues that the literature is unclear on whether or not sexual violence is a query of intercourse with violent manifestation or the other, violence with sexual manifestation. This subject of research is comparatively new and there are nonetheless many components associated to sexual violence in conflicts to discover. This evaluate will attempt to fill some gaps by proposing three major explanations to sexual violence in conflicts.

We are going to first take a look at the usage of sexual violence as a method of terror and intimidation. That is notably linked to terrorist organisations as the usage of sexual violence may also help a terrorist group to realize considered one of its 5 major targets: regime change, territorial change, coverage change, social management or establishment upkeep (Kydd & Walter, 2006 p.52). Hardy (2001 p.3) defines an act of sexual violence as a terrorist act when it’s used to result in political goals and is aimed toward a wider viewers than the particular sufferer. Terrorist teams due to this fact use sexual violence as a method to terrorise and humiliate to be able to assist them obtain their perfect of making a brand new state (Koos 2017 p.1936; Kydd & Walter, 2006 p.52). Sexual violence is an efficient technique of terrorism as ‘it erodes the material of the neighborhood in a means that few weapons can’ (UNICEF, 1996 p.1 in Mackenzie, 2010 p.209). If sexual violence just isn’t intuitively perceived as a method of terrorism, it’s nonetheless advantageous for the teams utilizing it (Hardy, 2001 p.4). By way of the identified use of sexual brutality, an organisation will be seen as intimidating and have a deterrent impact on the opposite actors of the battle which are fearful of this popularity (Crawford et al., 2014). If the organisation takes half in human trafficking of sexual slaves it ensures them an elevated revenue and permit them a extra environment friendly recruitment of recent fighters (Paulussen, 2021). Moreover, the repercussions of sexual violence appear low as sexual-based terrorism isn’t prosecuted, and due to this fact the probability of reprisals or sentencing are extraordinarily uncommon (Hardy, 2001 p.4). Lastly, the usage of systematic rape has such a robust impression on not simply the ladies, however on the entire neighborhood, that it ensures the terrorist group a device of domination by the crushing of the society’s order (Matusitz, 2017 p.831; Mackenzie, 2010 p.209). Using sexual violence by terrorist teams seems as a helpful technique because it ensures the domination of the inhabitants by terror and has a low likelihood of being prosecuted. Nevertheless, as Wooden (2009 p.134) factors out, some terrorist teams don’t use sexual violence in opposition to civilians and are nonetheless profitable achieve their goals, highlighting that the first strategic use of sexual violence in a battle may not be as a weapon of terror.

After the Rwandan genocide and the Balkan Battle within the Nineties, extra students have thought of that sexual violence might be an necessary device within the ethnic cleaning of a inhabitants (Wooden, 2009 p.132). Farwell (2004 p.395) defines sexual violence as a method for ‘infiltrating or destroying ethnic boundaries and attacking the honour of the neighborhood and the purity of its lineage’. Matusitz (2017 p.835) argues that to erase the id of a neighborhood, rape is an efficient technique because the rape of a person implies that the entire neighborhood turns into a sufferer of those acts, and that its id is threatened. By controlling the life-giving capacities of a lady, the perpetrators of those violent acts can simply affect the subsequent generations of a neighborhood (Skjelsbaek, 2001 p.219). A number of methods have been used for this objective, such because the deliberate spreading of sexual ailments like HIV in communities (Koos, 2017 p.1937), the creation of rape camps to put in a systematisation of pressured impregnation of ethnic or non secular minorities (Skjelsbaek, 2001 p.220) or the pressured sterilisation of girls to manage the neighborhood’s delivery price (Dahham, 2016 p.5). Bernard (1994 p.39) provides that sexual violence facilitates ethnic cleaning by inflicting a blow in opposition to the collective enemy by putting at a gaggle with a excessive symbolic worth and destroying the neighborhood’s social order. It additionally creates an incentive to flee, weakening the neighborhood by dislocating it elsewhere (p.35). Lastly, Koos (2017 p.1936) argues that sexual violence is worsened by ethnic and spiritual cleavages and that in these conditions, an increase of brutality will be noticed, typically linked to an absence of the rule of regulation. Sexual violence in a context of ethnic cleaning is linked to a rise of gang rapes, of sexual torture and of punishment for being a part of a sure neighborhood. The literature on sexual violence within the context of ethnic cleaning doesn’t appear to deal with why the perpetrators of those acts would favor a sure technique of sexual violence corresponding to pressured impregnation fairly than pressured sterilisation. A extra thorough evaluation on the alternatives of methods of management over the copy of a neighborhood would give perception on how you can stop this from occurring.

A 3rd argument expressed within the literature is the one of many hyper-masculinisation of conflicts. Matusitz (2017 p.837) argues that, throughout conflicts, masculinity is intently linked to militarised aggression, and due to this fact males are beneath stress to display their masculinity by collaborating in violence and terrorist acts, together with sexual violence. In different phrases, throughout a battle, rape is a sexual manifestation of manhood. Skjelsbaek (2001 p.217) explains that in conflicts, troopers consider that they’ve the best to destroy and violate the enemy, and this rage is commonly targeted on girls who belong to different males. Ahram (2015 p.58) provides that in a battle, girls develop into sacrosanct, and violating their sanctity emasculates and disempowers the enemy. Sexual violence causes wounded masculinity in instances of hyper-masculinisation (Matusitz, 2017 p.837). Ahram (2015, p.58) additionally mentions sexual violence in opposition to males, a topic much less mentioned within the literature, as the last word act of de-masculinisation. Crawford et al. (2014) argue that warfare rape is basically related to the group’s inside practices fairly than strategic imperatives. Koos (2017 p.1940) illustrates this concept by explaining that collective rape can be utilized as a cohesion method between troopers by making a bond between perpetrators. Rape could be a ritual of initiation or a logo of allegiance to the trigger (Matusitz, 2017 p.839). Card (1996 p.7) provides that, for example, forcing a soldier to rape a neighbour, can be utilized as a method to destroy former bonds of friendship between neighborhood members. Lastly, rape is seen as a means of having fun with the spoils of warfare, by permitting troopers to learn from non-public pleasure by the seize of the enemy’s girls (Koos, 2017 p.1939). Sexual violence in conflicts solutions to completely different methods, nevertheless, the literature doesn’t account for clear proof of the systematic use of sexual violence as a method. By way of the mixture of the completely different strategic goals explaining the usage of sexual violence, this literature evaluate offers a extra complete evaluation, taking into consideration each particular person and organisational goals of sexual violence. It’s a troublesome phenomenon to review as gathering knowledge on the intentions of the perpetrators of sexual violence is commonly unattainable, or biased. A extra thorough evaluation of sexual violence targeted on conflicts not solely within the second half of the 20th century might permit for a greater understanding of the intentions of the troopers on a person stage fairly than on a collective stage. 

Methodological word

The second a part of this essay will intention to clarify the selection of utilizing a case research to reply our analysis query. Sekaran and Bougie (2013 p.98) outline a case research as ‘a analysis technique that entails an empirical investigation of a selected up to date phenomenon inside its real-life context’. Following this definition, our case research on the Yazidi neighborhood as an instance the usage of sexual violence by ISIS in Iraq as a weapon of terror inscribes itself completely in our analysis technique. By analysing the instance of the impression of widespread and systematic use of sexual violence in opposition to the Yazidis, we offer concrete proof to our speculation that ISIS makes use of sexual violence as a weapon of terrorism and mass destruction. The selection of the Yazidi neighborhood is related as it’s the neighborhood that has been most destroyed by ISIS, and Yazidis girls and ladies had been probably the most focused by sexual slavery and trafficking (Kaya, 2019 p.10). Answering to George and Bennett’s (2005 p.51) doubts relating to the hazards of subjective biases in case alternatives, this essay argues that thorough analysis was made on the topic earlier than deciding on the Yazidi neighborhood as a case research, and that this alternative doesn’t mirror the ‘simple alternative’ that will greatest apply to our speculation, because it fairly represents probably the most full and sophisticated instance current in Iraq, as sexual violence was utilized by ISIS as a method of terror in addition to a method of ethnic cleaning.

Sexual violence in Iraq, from the State to ISIS

This third part will intention to establish the impression that earlier conflicts and use of violence in Iraq by the state has had on the systematic use of sexual violence as a method of terrorism by ISIS. It’ll additionally establish how ISIS makes use of sexual violence to claim dominance over ethnic and spiritual minorities. This essay will argue that Iraq cultivated a breeding floor for sexual violence from which ISIS took rating, because it was already a quite common apply utilized by the Iraqi authorities and safety providers. For instance, Saddam Hussein already used sexual violence as a method to maintain ethno-sectarian hierarchies in Iraq (Ahram, 2015 p.59). Sexual enslavement, a widespread apply utilized by ISIS, was a method well-used by the Iraqi regime within the Nineteen Eighties on the time of the ethnic cleaning of Iraqi Kurdistan (Ahram, 2019 p.187). Some students have argued that sexual violence in conflicts is extra widespread in international locations with increased ranges of institutionalised gender discrimination (Kaya, 2019 p.9). Cohen provides to that concept that rebel perpetrated acts of mass rape are extra seemingly in a context of state collapse, as exemplified in Iraq (Cohen, 2013 p.476). Constructing on these two assumptions, we’ll attempt to present that the Iraqi state facilitated the usage of sexual violence by ISIS.

Mackenzie highlights the significance of accounting of accounting wartime rape not solely as a device of warfare but in addition as a facet impact of a patriarchal society (Mackenzie, 2010 p.208). After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the state failed to supply safety, and this failure has notably uncovered girls to home violence, and violence by public authorities in opposition to girls (O’Driscoll, 2018 p.15). The rise of sectarian violence in Iraq within the final three many years has additionally facilitated the usage of killings, rape and the kidnapping of girls to settle scores between communities (Kaya, 2019 p.13). The Iraqi state has been famous for its failure to realize and implement justice, and within the instances of sexual violence, the state typically punishes the sufferer fairly than the perpetrator (Dahham, 2016 p.11; Kaya, 2019 p.13). That is additional illustrated within the discount of sentences within the Iraqi penal code for honour killings (UNAMI, 2013 p.2). The state has achieved little or no to fight human trafficking and mass rape, leaving the victims with no establishments to depend on (Kaya, 2019 p.13). A scarcity of laws and establishments legitimises the usage of gendered violence in Iraq. This account of the acceptance of gender-based violence in Iraq as a result of failure of the state to guard girls highlights the context by which ISIS asserted its dominance in 2014 after the invasion of Mosul. Drawing on the norms that had been already in place in Iraq, ISIS created a gendered socio-economic construction based mostly on the already current Iraqi norms of gender discrimination and violence (Kaya, 2019 p.12.; Ahram, 2015 p.58).

Ahram (2019 p.181) argues that sexual violence was utilized by ISIS as a state constructing technique in Iraq. The organisation determined to reflect the state it was making an attempt to supplant by creating establishments that drew on the prevailing norms of Iraq. An fascinating correlation will be made between the truth that many ISIS leaders had been as soon as prisoners within the notorious Abu Ghraib jail, managed by the US Military. This jail was identified for its systematic use of sexual torture in opposition to the suspected terrorists (Ahram, 2015 p.63). Sexual violence is a key side of the method of aggressive state constructing because it each tears down and reinforces types of domination inherited from the previous state (Ahram, 2019 p.185). ISIS resembles a state on many points as there’s a tax system, their very own authorized establishments, the export of petrol and an schooling system in place. Due to this fact, the usage of sexual violence was one other means of asserting this new state by constructing new familial ties (Ahram 2015 p.59; Ahram 2019 p.185). ISIS due to this fact appears to have based mostly its strategic use of sexual violence on the prevailing norms prevailing in Iraq and on the failure of the state to guard its residents from sexual violence. Nevertheless, ISIS additionally developed its personal specificities in regard to the usage of sexual violence, that we are going to attempt to establish.

ISIS has resorted to many methods to additional its ideology, with a selected deal with creating a scientific strategic use of sexual violence. Firstly, you will need to discover that if ISIS has strict rules on sexual exercise exterior of marriage, the organisation has morally justified the usage of sexual violence in opposition to non-believers in the event that they refuse to transform to Islam (Kaya, 2019 p.7; Ahram, 2019 p.187). By way of this justification, ISIS’ fighters can’t be thought of as ‘sinners’ in the event that they have interaction in sexual violence, as girls are deemed spoils of warfare, and as infidels are on the backside of the social hierarchy (Ahram, 2019 p.187).  ISIS has additionally declared that within the case of being pregnant ensuing from a rape by considered one of its fighters, the kid will belong to ISIS, spreading the usage of pressured impregnation of minority girls to contribute to the expansion of the organisation (Ahram, 2015 p.67). Having established a authorized framework which renders sexual violence acceptable — and even inspired — ISIS then outlined the strategic use of sexual violence as an ethnic cleaning device. Iraq is a multi-ethnic state, comprising of quite a few communities, which ISIS defines as infidels and enemies. Paulussen (2021) explains that ISIS used sexual terrorism to additional its Sunni fundamentalist ideologies, and to crush opposing communities by terror. Crawford et al. (2014) reinforce this concept by including that ISIS used sexual violence as a weapon of terror with the aim of ethnic domination by utilizing sexual torture, pressured incest, pressured abortion and compelled perpetration of sexual violence. Sexual violence permits ISIS to bolster its neo-patriarchal management, to construct cohesion between its ranks and to draw international fighters, by promising them girls as spoils of warfare (Ahram, 2015 p.67). Probably the most attribute use of sexual violence by ISIS is the usage of sexual enslavement of girls and ladies of ethnic or non secular minorities. By enslaving them, the group asserts its dominance over the neighborhood and in addition ensures a significant income supply by the sale of girls to brothels or to non-public people (Ahram, 2015 p.67). ISIS can management the reproductive potential of the entire neighborhood and completely destroy its social construction by separating the women and men (Kaya, 2019 p.7; Ahram, 2015 p.70).

Lastly, ISIS’s specificity in its use of sexual violence is that it publicly shows its crimes. The group information their actions on social media to realize a popularity of brutality to create worry and admiration for the organisation, and to terrorise its enemies (Amnesty Worldwide, 2014 p.11). ISIS employs a scientific use of sexual violence that appears notably focused in direction of ethnic and spiritual minorities, and that serves the aim of higher controlling them to finally destroy them.

This part has demonstrated that the usage of sexual violence by ISIS in Iraq just isn’t a brand new phenomenon, because the Iraqi state has largely participated in making a breeding floor for such violence in the previous few many years. ISIS has used the foundations of sexual violence laid by the state within the bigger idea of their state-building technique. By making sexual violence acceptable, it turns into an efficient device of each terror and ethnic cleaning which is on the disposal of the group.

Case research of the Yazidi neighborhood

This remaining half goals as an instance, by the case research of the Yazidi neighborhood, how ISIS has used sexual violence as a weapon of terror to commit ethnic cleaning of a whole neighborhood. This case research permits us to analyse a concrete instance of the usage of sexual violence in Iraq by ISIS and to attract conclusions from this case research for our analysis query.

The Yazidi neighborhood is likely one of the largest and oldest minority teams in Iraq. They’ve historically lived within the Sinjarinin district of Mosul (Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 p.7; Dahham, 2016 p.3). It’s estimated that earlier than August 2014, 600,000 Yazidis lived in Iraq (Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 p.7). The Yazidi religion is an historic monotheistic faith, based mostly on an oral custom and with a robust connection to the land (Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 p.8). They observe a strict religio-political hierarchy and are principally cultivators and herdsmen (Minority Rights, 2017). They preserve a closed neighborhood, as a baby can solely be of Yazidi religion if each dad and mom are Yazidis and since conversion to the Yazidi religion just isn’t attainable (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.6). As many minorities in Iraq, they’ve been marginalised and beneath menace for years, nevertheless, the Yazidis have been notably focused as a result of their faith is commonly misinterpreted as a pagan and a devil-worshipping religion. Completely different Iraqi governments and terrorist teams have used this misinterpretation to justify the usage of violence in opposition to them (Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 p.9; Kaya, 2019 p.11). They’ve been persecuted because the Ottoman Empire with campaigns of pressured conversion, and later with Saddam Hussein’s Arabisation marketing campaign of Kurdistan. After the 2003 invasion, Al-Qaeda performed common terrorist assaults in opposition to the neighborhood as they believed that non-Muslims needs to be eradicated (Minority Rights, 2017; Human Rights Council, 2016 p.6; Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 pp.9-10). Kaya (2019 p.9) factors out the dearth of safety supplied by the Iraqi and Kurdish governments to the Yazidis because the 2003 army intervention. The Yazidis stay in a disputed territory between the Kurdish forces and Iraqi state, additional destabilising their scenario as each events are competing for the management of the territory. This example has additionally led to a division in the neighborhood between those that establish as Kurdish, and the members that view themselves as from a distinct and distinctive Yazidi id (Minority Rights, 2017). The newest assault to the Yazidi neighborhood was ISIS’s army advance in Iraq in 2014. As non-Muslims, the Yazidis had been notably weak to ISIS’ perfect of Sunni dominance within the area (Kaya, 2019 p.11).

The research of ISIS’ sexual crimes over the Yazidi neighborhood is fascinating because the extent to which they used sexual violence is exclusive to this neighborhood. In distinction to remedy of different minorities, such because the Christians, ISIS didn’t depart the Yazidis a option to pay a particular tax giving them a standing of spiritual minority that acted as a safety. As an alternative, they had been provided two prospects: both convert to Islam or be killed (Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 p.10). The turning level for the Yazidi neighborhood was on the threerd of August 2014, when ISIS attacked Sinjar, the place the guts of the neighborhood lives. Many Yazidis tried to flee however had been captured on the roads by ISIS fighters. In three days, almost all villages had been emptied of their inhabitants and the Kurdish forces shortly withdrew as ISIS superior within the Sinjar area (Human Rights Council, 2016 pp.6-7; Cetorelli & Ashraph, 2019 p.9). ISIS besieged Mount Sinjar for per week to be able to seize the Yazidis that had sought refuge there (Cetorelli & Ashraph, 2019 p.9). Throughout these first few days of assault, the UN estimates that 5,000 Yazidi males had been executed, and seven,000 girls and ladies had been captured to be later be pressured into sexual slavery (Van Zoonen & Wirya, 2017 p.10). This assault has initiated a scientific use of sexual violence in opposition to the Yazidis, on each boys and ladies, as a method to terrorise them and demean the neighborhood as an entire (Ahram, 2015 p.68; Dahham, 2016 p.3).

Nevertheless, if these first days of assault had been notably brutal for the neighborhood, the sexual violence lasted for for much longer with the organisation of a human trafficking community of Yazidi girls and ladies. As soon as captured, the Yazidi girls had been formally ISIS’ property and had been characterised as ‘sabaya’ or slaves (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.12/23). The ladies had been first jailed within the Mosul space, to later be taken to different components of Iraq, or to neighbouring international locations like Syria or Saudi Arabia to be offered to ISIS fighters in slave markets or to be given to some distinguished fighters as spoils of warfare (Dahham, 2016 p.3; Human Rights Watch, 2016; Human Rights council, 2016 p.13). Interviews of former captured Yazidi girls spotlight that the abuse was fixed, and that they needed to endure rapes and different inhumane therapies each day. Moms had been typically offered with their kids, who had been additionally victims of standard beatings, and typically sexual violence as nicely (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.14). These testimonies account for the deeply managed side of the usage of sexual violence by ISIS in opposition to the Yazidis. Throughout their captivity, earlier than being offered on the slave market, girls weren’t abused by the troopers, because the group leaders didn’t permit for this to occur (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.12). The ‘enjoyment’ of the Yazidi girls was reserved to their ‘house owners’ and strict guidelines had been in place as to who was authorised to learn from this privilege (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.12). These findings permit us to consider that the usage of sexual violence in opposition to Yazidis was a part of a wider technique of terror and ethnic cleaning, fairly than being motivated by private lust and troopers’ fantasies.

Sexual violence was used as a method of terrorism to discourage the Kurdish and Iraqi forces to be able to oppose resistance to the seize of the Sinjar area. Yazidis’ defence relied on these two teams, because the neighborhood doesn’t have a robust sufficient army organisation to combat ISIS itself. Nevertheless, each the Iraqi and Kurdish military shortly withdrew as, amongst different causes, they had been afraid of the widespread use of sexual violence as a method of reprisal, and a few most popular to guard their households fairly than danger placing them within the palms of ISIS (Amnesty Worldwide, 2014 p.11). The specter of gang rape or sexual torture was additionally used as a deterrent for Yazidis who tried to flee throughout their captivity (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.23). Sexual violence was additionally used as a method of ethnic cleaning of the Yazidi neighborhood within the broader technique of creating a Sunni fundamentalist ideology in Iraq. Eradicating non-Muslim communities was a key side of ISIS’ targets, and, so as to take action, they resorted to systematic sexual violence by controlling the reproductive talents of Yazidi girls. The UN Human Rights Council (2016 p.27) stories that the terrorist organisation systematically dedicated crimes of sexual mutilation, pressured sterilisation, pressured contraception, separation of the sexes and compelled impregnation of Yazidi girls. These strategies have had a profound impression on the renewal of the neighborhood, as a baby is a member of the Yazidi neighborhood provided that each his dad and mom are, as famous earlier. By separating women and men, ISIS stifled the reproductive charges of the neighborhood, and thus its inhabitants diminished. The Fee for Worldwide Justice and Accountability (CIJA) has proved that ISIS had deliberate to enslave and rape Yazidis as a method to eradicate the delivery price of Yazidi kids (Yazda, 2020 p.2).

The Yazidis’ ethnic cleaning highlights the epitome of ISIS’ use of sexual violence as a method of terrorism and destruction. The Yazidi case research is pertinent because it entails not only a technique of ethnic cleaning, but in addition components of genocide. Since 2016, some establishments and governments such because the European Parliament, the US Home of Representatives, and the United Nations have recognised that ISIS is committing genocide in opposition to the Yazidis (Yazda, 2021). To be outlined as a genocide, warfare crimes have to be dedicated with intent to destroy an ethnic, racial or non secular group, by the mass killing of group members, the reason for severe bodily or psychological hurt to the group, inflicting inhumane dwelling circumstances, stopping delivery, and forcibly transferring kids of the group to a different group (Normal Meeting of the UN, 1948 p.1). This definition applies to the sexual crimes dedicated by ISIS to the Yazidi neighborhood, because the earlier examples highlighted on this paper are testimonies of ISIS’ intent to destroy the neighborhood. It is very important discover that sexual violence was not the one technique utilized by ISIS to destroy the neighborhood, as additionally they engaged in mass killings and compelled conversions of boys and males. Nevertheless, the systematic use of sexual slavery and sexual torture is a key component within the realisation of the atrocities dedicated by ISIS as a genocide in opposition to the Yazidis (Barber, 2016 p.4).

Finding out the aftermath of the ethnic cleaning of the Yazidis offers us an perception on the long-term impression that sexual violence can have on a neighborhood even as soon as the bodily menace has been destroyed. If Sinjar was retaken from ISIS management in 2015 by the Kurds, solely few Yazidis have been in a position to return to their homeland. The world continues to be beneath army management, and most Yazidis really feel unsafe going again to their houses, as a result of worry of reprisal (Minority Rights, 2017). The Human Rights Council (2016 p.33) stories that each member of the Yazidi neighborhood has been affected by the battle, both by being captured, killed or displaced. In 2016, an estimated 3,700 Yazidis remained in captivity by ISIS. Between 2014 and 2016, 120,000 Yazidis have sought asylum in Europe (Minority Rights, 2017). It has been estimated that 85% of the remaining Yazidis of the neighborhood are nonetheless forcibly displaced (Yazda & FYF, 2015 p.7). Regardless of shedding territorial energy over the neighborhood, ISIS nonetheless has affect over the survival of the neighborhood. By way of the usage of sexual violence, the terrorist organisation has efficiently managed to divide the neighborhood by instilling disgrace within the victims of sexual violence, and by inflicting extreme psychological well being points on the survivors of the battle (Human Rights Council, 2016 p.36). Many Yazidis reported that they don’t really feel secure anymore in Iraq and that they want to depart, even when it means leaving their sacred land (Kaya, 2019 p.16). That is attribute of the oblique affect that ISIS nonetheless workouts on the non secular group as an aftermath of sexual violence in a neighborhood.

The evaluation of the Yazidi neighborhood has allowed us to attract concrete proof of the usage of sexual violence in Iraq by ISIS. It has highlighted that sexual violence was largely used as a method of terrorism, with a selected aim of the ethnic cleaning of spiritual and ethnic Iraqi minorities. By utilizing sexual violence as a method to management the social order of a neighborhood, the terrorist group was in a position to regulate each side of their each day lives, starting from weddings to reproductive rights, impeding severely on the flexibility of the neighborhood to make sure the creation of a brand new era. Moreover, sexual violence on the Yazidis was additionally used as a deterrent technique for bigger army teams such because the Kurdish forces that had been discouraged from defending the Yazidis due to the specter of experiencing the identical bodily punishments. By way of the systematisation of sexual slavery, ISIS dedicated acts of genocide, additional demonstrating that sexual violence just isn’t a facet impact of the battle, however a key technique achieve its targets. Sexual violence offers the belligerents technique of controlling the inhabitants in ways in which different weapons can’t obtain as simply. ISIS included the usage of sexual violence in its hierarchy and beliefs, justifying its actions by the usage of sacred texts revealed as official propaganda of the organisation (Yazda & FYF, 2015 p.6).

On a bigger scale, this research has allowed us to check the implications of the usage of sexual violence by a terrorist organisation. The evaluation of a latest battle affords us a recent evaluation of the strategic use of sexual violence as a weapon of terror. We now have argued that sexual violence can’t be understood individually from the broader context of gender and minority discrimination that was already existent in Iraq (Kaya, 2019 p.19).  ISIS mirrored the actions of the state to be able to create its personal authentic new Iraqi state by the institution of a Caliphate. Sexual violence on this context of terrorism is due to this fact a method that straight serves the organisation as a method to obtain its aim of making a brand new state and controlling the inhabitants. So as to take action, sexual violence is used to ‘purify’ the inhabitants of undesirable minority teams and obtain the ideology of the terrorist group. Despite Koos’ (2017 p.1937) argument that it’s troublesome to qualify rape as a weapon of warfare due to the dearth of proof relating to its strategic use, this analysis has proven that sexual violence was the truth is strategically deliberate within the case of ISIS in Iraq. The paperwork analysed on this paper account for the truth that sexual violence was a part of ISIS’ technique of terror in Iraq; proof which was utilized in proving that these crimes had been a part of a genocidal marketing campaign in opposition to the Yazidis.

Going additional, this analysis might be reworked right into a comparative research of ISIS’s use of sexual violence with one other up to date terrorist organisation, to evaluate whether or not the findings of this essay are a singular phenomenon. If finding out the sexual violence dedicated by ISIS in opposition to the Yazidis has highlighted the systematic use of sexual slavery and ethnic cleaning, it could be fascinating to match it to the opposite strategies utilized by terrorist teams in inside conflicts within the area to search out out if it’s a widespread method in different conflicts as nicely. One other method to pursue this research can be by analysing the post-conflict interval in Iraq and the impression of sexual violence on the rebuilding of the state and its establishments, with a selected deal with the communities that had been most affected by the battle, corresponding to girls and/or minority teams.


To conclude, this essay has used the case research of the Yazidi neighborhood to evaluate why the terrorist organisation ISIS used sexual violence within the inside battle that began in Iraq in 2014. This research has proposed an summary of the talk on sexual violence by a literature evaluate highlighting the completely different methods that might be outlined as causes for the usage of sexual violence in a battle. This essay utilized this theoretical strategy to a extra concrete instance of ISIS in Iraq. It exhibits that it was essential to watch sexual violence within the bigger context of state constructing and as a phenomenon that had foundations in deeply rooted gender stereotypes promulgated by the earlier governments and social order. Lastly, finding out the case of the Yazidi neighborhood supplied proof on how terrorist teams can resort to sexual violence as a method of ethnic cleaning. We now have discovered that sexual violence was an necessary weapon to consider when analysing the strategic goals of an organisation in a battle. This paper provides to current argument on why sexual violence is so recurrent in conflicts and why girls and minorities are notably focused.


Ahram, A., (2015) Sexual Violence and the Making of ISIS, Survival, 57:3, 57-78, DOI: 10.1080/00396338.2015.1047251

Ahram, A., (2019) Sexual Violence, Aggressive State Constructing, and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Journal of Intervention and State constructing, 13:2, 180-196, DOI: 10.1080/17502977.2018.1541577 

Amnesty Worldwide, (2014). Escape from hell: torture and sexual slavery in Islamic state captivity in Iraq https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE140212014ENGLISH.pdf

Barber, M., (2016) Mass Graves of Yazidis killed by the Islamic State Group or Native Associates On or After August 3, 2014. Yazda Documentation Mission, January 28, 2016. https://354a2745-cd89-499d-8ac2-0340313e364f.filesusr.com/ugd/92f016_7ce9af13e1c64a768fc320aae544d323.pdf

Bernard, C., (1994) Rape as terror: The case of Bosnia, Terrorism and Political Violence, 6:1, 29-43, DOI: 10.1080/09546559408427242

Card, C. (1996), Rape as a Weapon of Battle. Hypatia, 11: 5-18. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1527-2001.1996.tb01031.x

Cetorelli, V., & Ashraph, S., (2019) A demographic documenation of ISIS’s assault on the Yazidi village of Kocho. LSE Center East Centre stories. LSE Center East Centre, London, UK. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/101098/

Cohen, D. (2013). “Explaining Rape throughout Civil Battle: Cross-Nationwide Proof (1980-2009).” American Political Science Assessment 107, no. 3 (August 2013): 461–477. doi:10.1017/S0003055413000221.

Crawford Ok.F., et al. (2014) Wartime sexual violence isn’t just a ‘weapon of warfare’. The Washington Submit, Monkey Cage September 24, 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/09/24/wartime-sexual-violence-is-not-just-a-weapon-of-war/?arc404=true

Dahham Z. (2016) Accountability of Armed Teams for Sexual Violence In opposition to Ladies Throughout Inner Armed Conflicts: The Case of Iraq. http://iafor.org/archives/journals/iafor-journal-of-social-sciences/10.22492.ijss.2.1.02.pdf

Dodge, T., Kaya, Z., Luchtenberg, Ok., Mathieu-Comtois, S., Saleh, B., van den Toorn, C., Turpin- King, A., & Watkins, J. (2018). Iraq Synthesis Paper: Understanding the Drivers of Battle in Iraq. LSE Center East Centre Report. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/90514/1/Iraq%20synthesis%20paper%20understanding%20the%20drivers_2018.pdf

Farwell N. (2004) Battle Rape: New Conceptualizations and Responses. Affilia. 2004;19(4):389-403. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0886109904268868

Normal Meeting of the United Nations (1948) Conference on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Normal Meeting Decision 260 A (III) of 9 December 1948. https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/documents/atrocity-crimes/Doc.1_Convention%20on%20the%20Prevention%20and%20Punishment%20of%20the%20Crime%20of%20Genocide.pdf

George, A. L., Bennett, A., (2005). Case Research and Principle Improvement within the Social Sciences (BCSIA Research in Worldwide Safety). Cambridge: MIT Press.

World Battle Tracker (2021) Political instability in Iraq. Council on International Relations. https://www.cfr.org/global-conflict-tracker/conflict/political-instability-iraq

Hardy, J. (2001). EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN: THE USE OF GENDER-BASED TERRORISM AGAINST WOMEN. Minerva, 19(2), 3. https://search.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/everything-old-is-new-again-use-gender-based/docview/222785787/se-2?accountid=14511

Human Rights Council (2016) “They got here to destroy”: ISIS Crimes In opposition to the Yazidis. Thirty-second session Agenda merchandise 4 Human rights conditions that require the Council’s consideration. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/A_HRC_32_CRP.2_en.pdf

Human Rights Watch, (2016). Iraq: Ladies Endure Underneath ISIS: For Sunnis, Lives Curtailed; for Yezidis, New Accounts of Brutal Rapes, 5 April 2016. https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/04/05/iraq-women-suffer-under-isis

Kaya, Z., (2019) Iraq’s Yazidis and ISIS: the causes and penalties of sexual violence in battle.  LSE Center East Centre, London, UK. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/102617

Koos, C., (2017) Sexual violence in armed conflicts: analysis progress and remaining gaps, Third World Quarterly, 38:9, 1935-1951, DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2017.1322461

Kydd, A., & Walter, B. (2006). The Methods of Terrorism. Worldwide Safety, 31(1), 49-80. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4137539

Mackenzie, M., (2010) Securitizing Intercourse?, Worldwide Feminist Journal of Politics, 12:2, 202-221, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14616741003665250

Matusitz, J. (2017) Gender Communal Terrorism or Battle Rape: Ten Symbolic Causes. Sexuality & Tradition 21, 830–844. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-017-9424-z

Minority Rights Group Worldwide (2017) Yezidis, Listing, Iraq, World Listing of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples. https://minorityrights.org/minorities/yezidis/

O’Driscoll, D. (2018). Rising Traits of Battle and Instability in Iraq. K4D Helpdesk. Brighton, UK: Institute of Improvement Research. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5c18d35ee5274a468ba7fab3/433_Emerging_Trends_of_Conflict_and_Instability_in_Iraq.pdf

Paulussen, C., (2021) ISIS and Sexual Terrorism: Scope, Challenges and the (Mis)use of the Label. Worldwide Centre for Counterterrorism, 27 January 2021. Unpaged https://icct.nl/publication/isis-and-sexual-terrorism-scope-challenges-and-the-misuse-of-the-label/

Sekaran, U., & Bougie, R. (2013). Analysis Strategies for Enterprise: A Talent-Constructing Strategy (6thend ed.). UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Skjelsbæk, I. (2001). Sexual Violence and Battle: Mapping Out a Complicated Relationship. European Journal of Worldwide Relations7(2), 211 237. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354066101007002003

United Nations Help Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), (2013). Ladies in Iraq Factsheet, http://www.iau-iraq.org/documents/1864/Woman-Factsheet.pdf

Van Zoonen, D., & Wirya, Ok. (2017). The Yazidis: Perceptions of Reconciliation and Battle (pp. 7-12, Rep.). Center East Analysis Institute. http://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep13635.5

Wooden, E. J. (2009). Armed Teams and Sexual Violence: When Is Wartime Rape Uncommon? Politics & Society37(1), 131–161. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032329208329755

Wooden, E. J. (2014). “Battle-Associated Sexual Violence and the Coverage Implications of Latest Analysis.” Worldwide Assessment of the Purple Cross 96, no. 894 (June 2014): 457–478. doi:10.1017/ S1816383115000077.

Yazda (2020)  ‘Purpose 16, Spiritual Freedom and The Yazidi Genocide’ OHCHR: https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Religion/Submissions/CSOs/75.yazda.pdf

Yazda & FYF (2015) ISIL: Nationals of ICC states events committing genocide and different crimes in opposition to the Yazidis. September 2015: https://www.freeyezidi.org/wp-content/uploads/Corr-RED-ISIL-commiting-genocide-ag-the-Yazidis.pdf

Yazda (2021) Genocide Recognition – Worldwide recognition of the Yazidi genocide: https://www.yazda.org/genocide-recognition

Additional Studying on E-Worldwide Relations