Dressember Day Six: Chloe Hatfield (Renton, WA)
I have always loved flipping through a good magazine.
I grew up reading American Girl, soon transitioned to Seventeen, and now I always pick up a copy of Glamor or Vogue before a vacation. A few weeks ago I purchased the latest issue of Vogue before my flight to Mexico. As I was flipping through the glossy pages, I came across an article that really shook me and opened my eyes to the sexual exploitation of women, girls and young boys in Iraq by members of ISIS.
The article, “Brave Hearts” by Janine Di Giovanni, details the lives of a group of young women in Iraq who witnessed a sweeping genocide of their people. In August of 2014 around 5,000 Yazidi people were killed and 6,000 more were enslaved. Thousands of women and girls were captured and sold off to “husbands” who would repeatedly rape and beat them. Some girls were “married” to as many as seventeen men. One girl was even married to an American, whose wife at home had full knowledge of her husband’s other “wife.”
One survivor is the same age as me — 23. After being witness to the brutal murder of eighteen of her family members, she was captured and gang raped by ISIS fighters. She describes the experience by saying, “the Islamic state did not just come to kill us, women and girls, but to take us as war booty and merchandise to be sold in markets.”
Being a survivor of sexual assault myself, I cannot imagine living and being “married” to my rapist, reliving the trauma day in and day out. I can’t imagine how I would cope with this magnitude of trauma, but these amazing women have taken the most selfless route. These brave women survived and many have escaped. According to the Vogue article, a group of them have created the “Sun Ladies,” a small army of women and girls who now have combat training and are prepared to lay down their lives to honor their families and to take back their rights and territory.
These women have seen unimaginable horrors and lived through incredibly traumatic events and yet they have chosen to dedicate their lives to seeking justice. These women demand those responsible for these acts will see their day in court.
When I heard about Dressember I immediately knew I had to join. If women in Iraq can give up their comforts and sleep on a roof with a rifle above their head to fight against human trafficking, I can wear a dress for 31 cold days. If these women are willing to sacrifice their lives to seek justice, I can be cold whilst raising awareness for these issues.
Thank you for reading and for being apart of Dressember! To learn more about the “Sun Ladies” click here to read the full Vogue article: http://bit.ly/2fUHV7k
To donate to our team page to support IJM and A21, two fantastic anti-trafficking non-profit organizations, please click here.