By Danica Davidson
While most the world is horrified by acts of violence committed by ISIS, an alarming number of young women -- including girls as young as 13 -- have been fleeing to the Middle East to join the terrorist organization.
So far, at least a few hundred young women from Europe, Australia and the U.S. have reportedly left home to join ISIS after being courted and recruited through social media. They girls are said to be marrying jihadis with the hope of giving birth to kids who will grow up to be soldiers.
Some of the young women are also arming themselves and fighting. Female members of ISIS are in turn using social media to make the experience seem like a slice of heaven on earth: all of your living expenses paid for and men worshiping you as the potential bearer of their sons. However, when the girls reach their destination, they’re finding themselves assaulted, forced into marriages and sold into slavery.
Girls like Samra Kesinovic who, as the Daily Mail reported, left home in Austria at 16 after writing "I love al-Qaida" on school property. She is considered the "poster girl" for young women joining the Islamic State, but now there's speculation that she may be dead.
"[T]he United Nations last month estimated that [ISIL, or ISIS] has forced some 1,500 women, teenage girls and boys into sexual slavery," former CIA analysts Aki Peritz and Tara Maller reported. "Amnesty International released a blistering document noting that [ISIL] abducts whole families in northern Iraq for sexual assault and worse. Even in the first few days following the fall of Mosul in June, women’s rights activists reported multiple incidents of [ISIL] fighters going door to door, kidnapping and raping Mosul’s women.”
Families of the girls are trying to get them back. The Guardian reported one man tracked his sister down in Syria. While she had willingly run away from home, she said to her brother, "I've made the biggest mistake of my life."