Nadia Murad has been awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, alongside gynecologist Denis Mukwege, “for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict”, according to the committee. Murad, a 25-year-old activist, has spread awareness and empowered survivors of sexual assault and abuse by sharing her story.
“Murad was abducted with other Yazidi women in August 2014 when their home village of Kocho in Sinjar, northern Iraq, was attacked by Isis,” the Guardian reports. “Captured alongside her sisters, she lost six brothers and her mother as the extremists killed the village’s men and any women considered too old to be sexually exploited.”
“Repeatedly raped and repeatedly sold on, she endured months of torture until one captor left a door unlocked. She gambled her life on an escape bid, and made it to safety. Then, even as she grappled with the mental and physical aftershocks of extreme trauma, she decided to speak publicly about what she had suffered. That meant revisiting her torture repeatedly, and in public. But Murad is extraordinarily brave, and her courage is amplified by dignity and clarity of purpose in telling her story.” The brutal plight of the Yazidi people has been largely ignored by the rest of the world, so this honor is a crucial reminder about the use of sexual violence during war around the globe, but also the current challenges of the Yazidi people specifically.
“I share this award with all Yazidis, with all the Iraqis, Kurds and all the minorities and all survivors of sexual violence around the world,” she said upon hearing about the honor. “As a survivor, I am grateful for this opportunity to draw international attention to the plight of the Yazidi people who have suffered unimaginable crimes since the genocide by Daesh (Isis).”
While there was an initial uproar at reports of Isis’s use of sexual slavery, attention died down quickly. Murad has not shied away from reliving her nightmare and traumas to try and keep the international lense where it needs to be. Both Murad and Mukwege have shown incredible strength in their fight against sexual violence — and hopefully, these awards will bring more attention to their cause.
To learn more about Murad’s story and the Yazidi people, Murad’s autobiography, “The Last Girl”, is available online