ICC Note: When women get rescued from captivity under Boko Haram, their story of horror and maltreatment has only just began. The militant Islamist terror group has become notorious in northeast Nigeria for particularly persecuting Christians, waging a terrible campaign of sexual violence, abducting women and young girls and using them as sex slaves. The most famous case was the April 2014 abduction of nearly 300 mostly Christian teenage girls from Chibok, Nigeria, more than 200 of whom remain missing after almost two years gone. For some Christian women, the devastation begins with their husband’s murder, something their often forced to watch, then they face forced conversion to Islam, repeated rape by their new “husbands,” and when they get rescued, the pain’s not over. Several communities shun Boko Haram “wives” for fear that they’ve been infected with radical jihadist ideology, treat their children as terrorist babies, and they often become terror suspects because Boko Haram has developed a reputation for using women as suicide bombers.
By Kevin Sieff
4/4/16 MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Washington Post) — For months, they were kept in tiny thatched huts in the middle of the forest, waiting with dread each evening for their rapists to return. During the almost intolerable violence, the young women’s minds drifted to escape or death. The victims were as young as 8.
At the heart of Boko Haram’s self-proclaimed caliphate in northeastern Nigeria was a savage campaign of rape and sexual slavery that has only recently been uncovered. Thousands of girls and women were held against their will, subject to forced marriages and relentless indoctrination. Those who resisted were often shot.
Now, many of the women are suddenly free — rescued in a series of Nigerian military operations over the past year that dislodged the extremist Islamist group from most of the territory it controlled. But there have been few joyous family reunions for the victims.