ISIS brutally attacked the Yazidi people in Sinjar in the Ninewa Plains of Iraq. The militant group abducted an estimated 5,000 women and girls. Those who escaped faced intense interest from journalists, especially interested in reporting on sexual violence they suffered in ISIS captivity. In the first study of its kind, researchers asked survivors about methods journalists used to gather and tell their stories.
The report, Voices of Yazidi women: Perceptions of Journalistic Practices in the Reporting on ISIS Sexual Violence, reveals Yazidi women’s strong feelings that journalists, who failed to protect the identities of women and girls who survived ISIS captivity, put them and others still in captivity, at grave risk for retaliation. Human rights lawyer Sherizaan Minwalla, who specializes in gender-based violence in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, and Johanna Foster, assistant professor of political science & sociology and director of the sociology program at Monmouth University co-authored the report and will share their troubling research on Yazdi women’s engagement with journalists. They believe in a frenzy to cover news of ISIS mass rapes against Yazidi women and girls, journalists repeatedly violate standard ethical guidelines for reporting on sexual violence in conflict zones.
Sherizaan Minwalla, human rights lawyer and practitioner-in-residence in the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the American University Washington College of Law
Johanna Foster, assistant professor of Political Science & Sociology and director of the Sociology Program at Monmouth University