The New Humanitarian Annual Report 2021

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Luana Martiri, Iraq “I discovered I was made pregnant by a rapist”

[Iraq] Luana says she was raped and made pregnant by an Iraqi soldier. [Date picture taken: 02/05/2007]
Luana says she was raped and made pregnant by an Iraqi soldier (Afif Sarhan/IRIN)

“I’m a 22-year-old Christian student in Iraq. Two months ago I was raped by an Iraqi soldier following a raid at my home.

“I thought very hard before agreeing to tell my story. But I cannot allow other girls to suffer the same violence I suffered.  in addition to being discriminated against and lacking support.

“With the exception of my older brother, Khalil, all my family had left for Amman, Jordan and then for Sweden. I was waiting to finish my last year at university before joining them. Only I and Khalil stayed behind. One day, while he was at university, a group of Iraqi soldiers raided our home saying that they had information that there were insurgents in the area.

“When they were inside my home I saw them giving me strange looks. They asked me questions for about 15 minutes and then they left.

“Two days later, on the afternoon of 27 November last year, I was alone again in the house and I heard a sound coming from the living room. First, I thought Khalil had come home earlier and then I realised it was one of the Iraqi soldiers who had raided our home two days previously.

''Maybe by knowing what happened to me, the world will be aware of what is happening to women in Iraq.''

“I was surprised and was about to ask him if he was conducting another raid when he put his hand directly over my mouth and told me that if I made any sound, he would wait for my brother and kill him.

“He knew I was alone because of the answers I had given on the day of the raid.

“I tried to free myself from his arms and run but he was much stronger than me. He forced me into a bedroom and made me do what I had never done before in my life. He raped me while I cried and tried to bite his hand but each time I did this he hit my face with his other hand.

“When he finished he told me that if I told the police about it he would return and do it again with me and kill my brother so the house would be just for me and him.

“When my brother came home I told him everything. He got so upset that he forced me to go to the police with him. There we met a sergeant who asked for proof that it was an Iraqi soldier who raped me, saying that maybe it was not a soldier but only someone dressed like one.

''He raped me while I cried and tried to bite his hand but each time I did this he hit my face with his other hand.''

“After two hours of humiliation, being looked at by the police officers as the latest girl who lost her virginity in Iraq, we went home. Khalil cried more than me because he couldn’t believe that his sister had suffered such abuse while he was away and the rapist would not be charged.

“We called our family in Sweden the same day and told them what had happened. Since then, they have been trying to get us visas to join them.

“Two weeks ago, I discovered that I was made pregnant by the rapist. Khalil took me to a doctor who did an abortion and since then my neighbour has been taking care of me.

“I hope my story will help girls who are raped in Iraq to decide to tell their story even though it is hard in a traditional Muslim country such as Iraq. But if we remain silent, there will be more girl victims and more girls will lose that so precious thing that God gave them, their virginity.”


See also
Local NGO warns of rising cases of sexual abuse
Najjet Muhammad, Iraq "I cannot stand the beatings any more"

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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