News that Yazidi sex slave survivor Nadia Murad has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war barely registered on the American media radar screen.
Murad was abducted in northern Iraq in August 2014, when Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists took over her village.
“At just 21 years old, she was kidnapped alongside an estimated 3,000 other Yazidi women and girls, traded as sex slaves from one ISIS fighter to another. She was forced to pray, dress up, and apply makeup in preparation for her rape, which was often committed by gangs,” Kelsey Harkness wrote for The Daily Signal on Oct. 12.
Murad said: “My hope is that all women who speak about their stories of sexual violence are heard and accepted, that their voices are heard so they feel safe.”
But, Harkness wrote, “Nadia’s story is falling on deaf ears. Because being ‘heard’ requires others to listen. Imagine the difference ‘feminists’ could make if, in addition to banging on the doors of the U.S. Supreme Court, they also took a few minutes to bang at the doors of the United Nations.”
“While any comparison between Nadia’s story and the accusations leveled against newly minted Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would be completely unfair,” Harkness continued, “it is fair to wonder how news of uncorroborated allegations of gang rape brought by porn lawyer Michael Avenatti can overshadow a gang rape survivor-turned-women’s advocate being honored with the most prestigious award in the world.”
When her village was overrun by ISIS, Murad said the Yazidi people – a Kurdish and Arabic-speaking religious minority – were given two choices: Convert to Islam or die. Refusing to give in, Nadia said she watched men get massacred and family members march to their graves.
Thousands of Yazidis remain missing, including at least 1,300 women and children.
In accepting her Nobel Peace Prize, Murad said: “The world should bear its moral and legal responsibility and ensure its proper and fair accountability. The sexual violence and conflicts in our towns and cities must be stopped.”
Dr. Denis Mukwege of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who has also worked to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.