Women raped & driven to suicide in Iraq

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Abducted and raped, young Christian women and girls are driven to suicide in Iraq

Iraq’s abduction industry does not spare young women and girls. Despite being released, some are unable to cope with the violence they experienced and kill themselves. In Mosul a Syrian Orthodox priest is kidnapped.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Young Christian women and girls have been abducted and released after ransom money was paid only to commit suicide because of the shock, violence and shame they experienced. This is happening in Baghdad where kidnapping has become a growth industry. Criminal gangs are lining their pockets as the number of victims grows and the line-ups at border posts grow even longer with people trying to flee the country.

Christians from any denominations, clergy or laity alike, are one of the preferred targets in the capital.

In Mosul on Monday, another priest was abducted, Fr Paulos Eskandar, from the Syrian Orthodox Church. A huge ransom has already been asked.

Sources in some communities of nuns in Baghdad have relayed other stories they witnessed. Last Sunday two young Christian women were abducted but under different circumstances: one at home as her helpless family could do nothing but watch; the other, at an open market where four armed men spirited her away in a car leaving behind a distraught mother.

Often incidents do not end with the prisoner’s release. In one case in Baghdad, the victim committed suicide after the ransom was paid and she went home because of the torture and sexual violence she suffered.

In another case, a young woman talked to her family by phone (the kidnappers allowed her to speak to her family to reassure them that she was alive) and told them: “I’m dead” (referring to being gang raped). She eventually committed suicide whilst still in the hands of her tormenters.

Unofficial estimates put the number of young women and girls abducted in the last two weeks at 12.

Meanwhile Iraqi Christians are increasingly scared. Sources in northern Iraq told AsiaNews that “hundreds of families are on the run, fleeing towards the border with Syria.”