Please Don’t Look…Away
by Timothy Chambers, Oil on linen, 30” x 36”
I was moved when I read the story of this young woman. Over 400,000 Yazidis in Syria were displaced by ISIS militants. Men were killed or forced to join ISIS; women and children were sent fleeing and homeless. Others, such as fourteen-year-old Yasmin were captured, often abused and repeatedly raped by ISIS militants. After about two weeks, Yasmin escaped to a Syrian refugee camp of other displaced Yazidis. One day, Yasmin thought she heard the voice of one of the men that had raped her. Yasmin snapped. She couldn’t take more pain. To “save” herself from further abuse, she doused herself with gasoline and set herself on fire so that she would be undesirable.
Dr. Jan Kizilhan, himself of Yazidi descent, rescued Yasmin, bringing her to Germany where he and his medical team have provided physical, emotional, and mental healing to Yasmin and over 1200 Syrian women and children refugees.
Yasmin is safe now, and dreams of going out in public again without turning heads, without children looking at her and crying. “It is very important to tell our stories because the world should know what happened to us so that it doesn’t happen again,” she says. This painting is my attempt to help tell her story.