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Gorwe (YouTube)


Yazidi woman traumatized by ISIS explains how her 2 sisters have been able to mentally overcome the ordeal

By WITW Staff on February 23, 2017

A German project aimed at providing psychological care to the Yazidi people — more than 400,000 of whom have been “displaced, captured, or killed” by ISIS, according to the U.N. — is set to begin a new program in Dohuk, Iraq, next month that would provide local mental health professionals with the training requisite to work with those traumatized by ISIS. The project, funded by the wealthy German state of Baden Wuerttemberg, had already brought 1,100 women who survived capture by ISIS to Germany for psychological treatment.

There are 5.5 million people and more than 1.5 million refugees in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Northern Iraq, but only 25 practicing psychiatrists — none of whom are specialized in treating trauma. The new program would allow training for 30 new professionals over the next three years, as well as expanding the project to other universities in the area. After ten years, experts hope, the project could provide more than 1,000 psychotherapists for the region.

Thirty-nine-year-old Gorwe, a Yazidi woman who lives in the Sharya refugee camp in Duhok, said that the mental health of two of her sisters-in-law had improved dramatically after they went to Germany for treatment.

“They were as good as before Daesh,” she said. “I’m not sure why, but I think the treatment has helped.”

Of the 24 members of Gorwe’s family that were taken by ISIS — only 14, all women and children, have returned. After their capture at the hands of ISIS, Gorwe said that the fighters separated the men from the women and children before taking the women and “distributing them to themselves.” Gorwe, a mother of six children, said she doesn’t know where they took her eldest daughter, then 15. After taking her daughter, her three eldest sons, 14, 12, and 10 years old respectively, were also spirited away. Together with her two remaining children, Gorwe was then sold to an ISIS fighter at an “underground marketplace” near Raqqa.

Over the next few months, Gorwe said she was bought and sold multiple times before a young man drove up to her in a car, apparently enamored with her 7-year-old daughter. Fortunately, the young man’s interest was feigned — after he bought Gorwe and her children, he revealed himself as a smuggler hired by her family to help her to escape.

Gorwe says she’s received psychological treatment in the wake of her escape, but that it hadn’t had the same effect on her as she’d seen it have on others. “No matter how many doctors I see,” she said, “I’ll still have the same pain inside me.”

Watch video of Gorwe below.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


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