To defeat ISIS, listen to the women


Far from just being victims of ISIS, Syrian women have risen as some of the biggest agents of change and relief in the area—and an invaluable source of wisdom when it comes to defeating ISIS. Fatima Sadiqi, who founded the Centre for Studies and Research in Morocco, notes how the use by ISIS of enslavement and sexual violence has awakened in many a keen awareness for the need to fight for women's rights—which may be the key to defeating ISIS: "Looking at the big picture, advancing women's rights appears to constitute the first nail in the coffin for the jihadi ideology. Indeed, using the lens of women's rights is the only way to break the jihadi ideology."

The Hill covers a panel discussion, personal stories and more to show how women are driving change in the fight against the terror and extremism in a recent story excerpted below. - In a world inundated with news, information and entertainment, it is easy to miss something important or to forget about it. We hear about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on a near-daily basis because its media operation is sophisticated and omnipresent. We see the terror organization's soldiers, guns, bullets, bombs and beheadings. We see its victims.

But a new, positive trend is on the horizon: the role of women, not just as victims of ISIS, but as powerful change agents to reverse the tide of terrorism.

Instead of fixating on the warriors and the wounded, let's listen more often to the strong women on the ground in places where ISIS and other extremists have ripped apart lives, literally and figuratively — lives of innocent people, especially women and girls. Those are the sounds we need to hear.

Last month, Nadia Murad Basee Taha bravely told her story to the United Nations. Her experiences in Iraq at the hands of ISIS should make your blood boil. Like many Yazidi women in the region, she was kidnapped, beaten and raped by members of ISIS, who sold and bought her as a human sex slave over a three-month period. She did not mince words. "Rape was used to destroy women and girls and to guarantee that these women could never lead a normal life again. ... [The] Islamic State has made Yazidi women into flesh to be trafficked in," she said, adding that the group uses women as "war booty."

Read the whole story here.