Iraqi Widows in displaced camps

The beginning of a military campaign to retake Iraq’s second-largest city Mosul has seen the Iraqi army pushing westward towards the Tigris River. The northern city has been controlled by Islamic State, also known as ISIS, since June 2014.

The battle between the two sides resulted in a fresh wave of displacement with 2,000 civilians. The escalation of violence escalated on March 24, 2016. “We left everything behind, we have nothing. ISIS took everything,” said Umm Rayyad. A woman who declined to give her real name along with the others, Reuters reported.

“I have only two mattresses for me and my four children. We haven’t washed in a week. This place is too small for so many people,” she said.

Aside from almost one million Iraqis displaced since 2006/7, there are more than 3.3 million people in Iraq that have been displaced since January 2014.  More than half of Iraq’s displaced were women in 2015 and most of their age ranges between 25 and 59 years old.

The situation was unbearable as more than two families have no other option but to share shower and latrine. Their displacement was lacking in living spaces, unfortunately, for a society that customarily separates men and women. Sadly, there is not enough fund to support the cause, banking details will hopefully be available soon. This, of course, presents a huge problem to the people.

According to Rezhna Mohammad, the director for psychological services local charity called SEED, who was interviewed by Reuters, women are not allowed to go to the bathroom after dark. On the other hand, someone has to go watching for them as well even if they go during the daytime.

“In some camps, their movement is very restricted because they’re at greater risk of harassment and rape,” she added. Furthermore, the stigmatization of raped and sexually abused women means that survivors hesitate to openly discuss their experience, and prefer to suffer in silence.

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