Nadia Murad is the first-ever Iraqi recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. At the young age of 25 years old, Murad was awarded the coveted prize for “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.” She is an individual whose strength is not without warrant, and who acts as a voice to those who share in her story. While her future looks bright as a social activist and Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, her story started out bleak.
When she was only 19 years old and living in a Yazidi village in Kojo, Iraq, her life changed in an instant. Members of the Islamic State raided her home village of religious minorities, killing over 600 men – including several of her family members. After the massacre, she and several other young women of her village were captured to later be used for sex trafficking. Murad and many others were repeatedly raped and abused, forced to endure what seemed to be a lifetime of suffering. The terroristic intent behind this campaign was for ISIS’s larger-scaled genocidal plan to remove all religious minorities, like the Yazidis.
After 3 months of torture, Nadia Murad was eventually able to escape the gruesome terror that she had been subjected to for so long. She arrived at a refugee camp where she reflected on the events that took place prior, and how her life would not be the same – as she would not let it. She has devoted herself to giving a voice to all of the other victims of slavery in the Islamic State. Murad considers herself fortunate to escape when she did and recalls hundreds of other innocent women who faced a different fate than her.
While sexual violence is not uncommon, especially in the context of war and genocide, it is a subject that only recently received a global spotlight. Often times, the victims of sex slavery who are lucky enough to escape are unable to share their stories. They lack the proper outlet, support, recognition, and confidence to do so. It is a horribly difficult subject to learn about, and even harder to speak on one’s own experiences. However, Murad realizes the importance of sharing her story to requite the victims who cannot.
Nadia Murad believes that the unsurmountable power of the culprits of sex slavery resides in the silence of their victims. She refuses to give her abusers this power over her and the non-qualitative number of other women who find themselves a victim of this atrocious crime. She is an inspiration and truly deserving of such a high honored award.
To read more about Madia Murad and the other recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, visit the Nobel Prize’s official website here.