Some families in Iraq are refusing to rescue their daughters from ISIS captivity because they view them as a liability to family honor.
Women held as sex-slaves by the Islamic State are remaining in the hands of ISIS because their families are too ashamed to rescue them, according to the pan-Arab outlet Al-Aan, which is based in Dubai.
Reports that were depending on testimonies from women who escaped ISIS show that Turkmen families whose daughters have been rescued from Islamic State captivity are treating the girls as a source of shame.
The paper claimed to know about 5 Turkmen girls who could have escaped ISIS and joined their families in the province of Al-Najaf and Karbala in the south of Iraq. But their families refused to cooperate with any rescue agencies that can give them information because of the fear of shame.
The liberation of six hundred women and girls has reportedly been prevented by concerns over honor.
In Iraq where tradition firmly controls society, women and girls are prohibited from having emotional relationships or eloping without the permission and knowledge of the family.
Girls who violate these social codes are typically murdered by their families.
Despite the fact that rape is by definition non-consensual, families still look down on rape victims because they regard the woman’s chastity as having been breached by the mere act of penetration regardless of the volition of the woman concerned.
Such brutal honor codes and what activists are doing to stand up against them were chronicled in Clarion Project’s award winning movie Honor Diaries.
Human rights organizations have to take on these problematic cultural trends if they are serious about rehabilitating women that have already undergone so many traumas.
The mindset that views women as property to be bought and sold in sexual slavery is the same as the mindset that views a woman to be damaged goods and a source of shame after she has been raped. She is not seen as a person in her own right but as a mere appendage to a male.
This toxic perception of women must be challenged.