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RISING FUND Appeal for our Sisters Under Siege in Iraq

Photo Credit: Safin Hamed / AFP / Getty Images

Dear One Billion Rising and V-Day activists,

We are calling on your urgent help and support for our sisters in Iraq. As we know, in times of conflict, women and girls are rendered the most vulnerable to sexual violence.

Our long time V-Day sister Yanar Mohammed from Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) writes to us:

"The Iraqi society is suffering unprecedented crisis that threatens the future of peaceful co-existence of citizens, and augments genocides and civil conflicts based on the sectarian identities that were established on the Iraqi population, and were strengthened throughout more than a decade of the American occupation to Iraq. This coming week will be one of the deadliest in Iraq - with the politics of division pushing us into such a dark corner, that the other half of the Iraqis might be heading to battles with the other half. The ISIS have a fatwa in Mosul that all residents should be willing to give their unmarried daughters to "Jihad Al Nikah" or rather, sexual Jihad. You can just imagine, the women who are brought to OFWI are from very disciplined and conservative backgrounds, and then, all of a sudden, they are taken for the pleasure of a war lord, but in the name of somebody's Jihad - it just blows my mind. Four women have already committed suicide after these violations. There are rumours that some fathers were thinking of killing their daughters so as not to be subject to the shame. In Baghdad, most of the families have a son who volunteered to fight ISIS, and were sent to the frontlines without any military training...anticipation and fear from the greater evil is in everybody's hearts. It took us a week to absorb and believe that our lives have gone down the drain, once again. And then again, we cannot surrender to fate."

One Billion Rising has set up a Rising Fund to benefit women on the ground immediately. 100% of donations will go directly to these efforts via the Organization of Women's Freedom Iraq. Please consider donating whatever you can - everything and anything will help. All funds will go to the current efforts of OWFI for the following:

  1. Setting up a new house in the city of Karbala where a huge displaced population is, where the women who lost their families are vulnerable to the worst of situations.
  2. In Samarra which gets sieged every other day by ISIS, they are supporting widows families with food provisions, and OWFI continues provide shelter and support to the vulnerable.
  3. For Mosul, which is the worst zone, (presumed the capital of the ISIS), OWFI are seeking to contact their supporters to reach out to the women vulnerable to "Jihad Al Nikah." They are finding ways to provide safe shelter and to explain to the women that forced rape should not be the end of their life.

Please read the statement below from YANAR MOHAMMED to know more about the context of the current situation in Iraq:

On the Occupation of Mosul and the Cities of Western Iraq
The Iraqi society is suffering unprecedented crisis that threatens the future of peaceful co-existence of citizens, and augments genocides and civil conflicts based on the sectarian identities that were established on the Iraqi population, and were strengthened throughout more than a decade of the American occupation to Iraq.

Mosul City has fallen along with Tikrit, and previously Fallujah, under the control of considerably small troops of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The war continues in other cities like Tel Afar, Samaraa, and the cities of the western region. If the occupiers' mission succeeds, a large part of the Iraqi society would be ruled by a brutal Islamic state that does not fit in our modern world whatsoever; a state which sees an enemy in every human being who needs to be "disciplined" through humiliation, beating, and killing until he/she becomes good enough to fit within the extreme religious "set of morals." This is a state that easily kills "apostates" and commits genocides against the religious and political opponents, a state that regards women merely as packages of flesh ready for the entertainment of the Mujahideen. Many Fatwas come out to ensure women's humiliation under being "gifted" for the new Caliphate-age rapists, under the legislation of the so-called "Jihad Al Nikah." In spite of all these atrocities, a number of the residents of the fallen cities joined them as a reaction to eight years of systemic sectarian subjugation under prime minister Nouri Al Maliki's rule.

CONTINUE reading the full statement >

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