Nadia Murad was born and raised in Kocho, a Yazidi community in Iraq; she had dreams of becoming a history teacher or opening her own beauty salon. But on August 15th, 2014, when Nadia was just twenty-one years old, Islamic State militants massacred the people of her village, executing men who refused to convert to Islam and women too old to become sex slaves. Six of Nadia's brothers were killed, and her mother soon after, their bodies swept into mass graves. Nadia was taken to Mosul and forced, along with thousands of other Yazidi girls, into the ISIS slave trade.
Nadia would be held captive by several militants and repeatedly raped and beaten. Finally, she managed a narrow escape through the streets of Mosul, finding shelter in the home of a Sunni Muslim family whose eldest son risked his life to smuggle her to safety. Today, Nadia's story — as a witness to the Islamic State's brutality, a survivor of rape, a refugee, a Yazidi — has forced the world to pay attention to the ongoing genocide in Iraq. It is a call to action, a testament to the human will to survive, and a love letter to a lost country, a fragile community, and a family torn apart by war.