Avin* is a young Yezidi woman who was captured by ISIS alongside her sisters in August 2014. On the same day, ISIS murdered her father. Avin says, “I can still hear my father’s voice and the sound of bullets.” During her capture, she was sold from ISIS terrorist to terrorist over 10 times and was moved between Tal Afar and Mosul in Iraq, and Raqqa in Syria. One of her sisters was killed by ISIS and she has no news of her other sister.
After escaping to safety in Kurdistan Region, Avin now lives in a camp with her mother and is learning to adjust to her new reality. She suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and requires medication. She has flashbacks, is hyper-aroused, and feels emotionally numb and detached from family and friends. She also has medical needs as a result of abuse she suffered in captivity. Before receiving support from SEED, she barely ate or slept and had no interest in participating in any social activity.
Through our mobile services program, SEED is currently providing Avin with psychotherapy as well as case management services. After first focusing on trust-building and feeling safe again, she now understands that the symptoms she is experiencing are normal reactions to the extremely traumatic events she has endured. SEED’s psychologist has taught her simple relaxation techniques so she can sleep again. She is also beginning to resume relationships with family and friends in the community. Avin has made significant progress, and we will continue to support her on her journey.
*Name and identifying details have been changed to protect client confidentiality.