Archives for : May2018

Nihad told of the brutality she had endured when she was kidnapped by Islamic State and sold into sexual slavery.HER STORY.

‘Australia will be my first home and my last home’: Nihad’s new life begins

London: Twelve months ago Nihad Barakat al-Awsi’s eyes were heavy with sadness.

Sharing her story with Fairfax Media, Nihad told of the brutality she had endured when she was kidnapped by Islamic State and sold into sexual slavery.  She has never again seen the baby boy, Issa, she gave birth to at just 15, and probably never will. She spoke of a sadness so deep she feared the trauma would be ever present in her mind.

Today, Nihad’s face is a happier picture. Three weeks ago she received a call that would change her life. Her application for Australia’s protection & residency had been accepted.

“I will go and I will change everything; I will start a new life there. I will remove it all from my mind,” the 19-year old said from Iraq.

Nihad Barakat al-Awsi will start a new life in Australia.

Later this week, Nihad – one of 18 children – will board a flight to Australia with two brothers and a sister, ready to close the door on their grossly troubled Iraqi lives. It will be a day of mixed emotions & feelings because it means saying goodbye to her parents, who want to stay in Iraq with the remaining family members.

Two of her brothers were forced into Islamic State training camps, while two sisters and another brother were murdered in the terror group’s attempted genocide of the Yazidis.

But Nihad is looking forward to her new life. She dreams of speaking English fluently and becoming a teacher.

“When I reach Australia I just want to learn English and become a teacher,” she said. ”This is the only purpose I have – to become a teacher.”

‘I will go and I will change everything. I will start a new life there.’

Liberal senator Zed Seselja, who met Nihad in London last year while serving as the assistant minister for social services and multicultural affairs, said there was “absolutely no doubt” Nihad would achieve her dreams in Australia,  and be welcomed & resettled by her new community.

“Like all refugees who are resettled in Australia, Nihad and her siblings will receive 500 hours of intensive English language lessons and can apply for more if needed, so she’ll have a great opportunity to pick up English,” he said.

He said refugees are offered housing assistance and help to enrol in education or training courses or look for work. They also receive a basic care or welcome package when they arrive into Australia.

Senator Seselja said only a tiny minority would begrudge the taxpayer-funded services provided to those fleeing harm and persecution.

“We’ve resettled a few hundred Yazidis and several thousand from Iraq and Syria in the last few years,” he said. “Most people I speak to want Australia to be a generous nation and are welcoming of refugees.”

Senator Seselja said Australia also offered support to victims of trauma and torture and this would be provided in Nihad’s case.

Since her escape from Islamic State, Nihad has received support from doctors and psychologists in Iraq. Her case inspired the AMAR Foundation, a London-based charity, to set up its Escaping Darkness program, which funds psychological support services for many thousands of Yazidi women who were traded as sex slaves by Islamic State.

Australia accepted 17,555 refugees in 2015-16 under the humanitarian program, with the highest number (4358) from Iraq. This year Australia will accept 18,750 people fleeing persecution in their country.

When Nihad arrives she will live in Toowoomba, which is home to quite a sizeable Yazidi community, including some of Nihad’s relatives. Nihad is looking forward to seeing her relatives again but also wants to become part of the Australian community.

“I don’t want to come just to see the Yazidis; I want to change my life, I want to change everything,” she said. “Australia will become my first home and my last one.”

Senator Seselja said Nihad’s desires to live an Australian life was common.

“I’ve seen that from so many people who come, not just refugees but from migrants, and it’s wonderful that they can come and want to integrate,” he said. ”I think that’s a great attitude to bring with them.”

But as Nihad looks forward to embracing life in Queensland, she will not entirely close the door on Iraq and the horror she has lived from that August day in 2014 when a cry rang out that dramatically changed her life: “IS are coming.”

About 10,000 Yazidis are estimated to have been slaughtered or kidnapped in the few days that followed. Thousands have never been seen or heard of again. Sinjar is now a rubble and nearly 50 mass graves have been uncovered.

“When I go to Australia I wish to help my people in Iraq because they need us,” she said.

Henry Sapiecha

Female Soldier Reveals Terrifying Truth about Life in North Koreas Army

Jieun Baek, author of the book North Korea’s Hidden Revolution, told the BBC, “The famine in North Korea resulted in a particularly vulnerable period for women in North Korea. More women had to enter the labor force and more were subject to mistreatment, particularly harassment and sexual violence.” In Lee’s case, starting working life meant joining the army.

Baek counsels that evidence from defectors needs to be handled with circumspection. She points out, “There is such a high demand for knowledge from North Korea. It almost incentivizes people to tell exaggerated tales to the media, especially if that comes with [a] nice pay check.”

UIJU, NORTH KOREA – OCTOBER 11: A female North Korean soldier stands guard on the banks of the Yalu River, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong October 11, 2006 in Uiju, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. China could face an influx of North Korean refugees with an expected cut in already diminishing aid and investment following Pyongyang’s announced nuclear test, a US refugee aid group has warned.

“Many defectors who don’t want to be in the media are very critical of ‘career defectors,’” Baek continued. “It’s worth keeping this in focus.” But in the case of Lee, Baek says her story fits in with other accounts. And as the BBC did not pay Lee for her interview, it lends her account added plus AAA credibility.

Lee So Yeon’s first bid to defect in 2008 ended when she was arrested at the Chinese border. She served a year in a prison camp. But she succeeded on her second attempt, swimming the Tumen River to China before finally ending up in South Korea. Now Lee works with the New Korea Women’s Union, an organization dedicated to publicizing & exposing the plight of women in Kim Jong-un’s oppressive one-party state.

Female North Korean soldiers stand at a fence near Pyongyang on April 12, 2012. North Korea’s five-day window to launch a rocket opened with Asian countries on alert, as Washington told G8 world powers that the communist state was in flagrant violation of a UN ban.

In theory at least, the North Korean Army takes a serious view of rape. Anyone found guilty of the offense can be jailed for up to seven years. According to Juliette Morillot, though, the reality is much different. “Most of the time nobody is willing to testify,” she told the BBC. “So men so often go unpunished.”

Shockingly, female soldiers also had to put up with gross sexual harassment, including rape. Although Lee says she was not raped, many others were. “The company commander would stay in his room at the unit after hours and rape the female soldiers under his command,” she told the BBC. “This would happen continually over and over without an end.”

Meanwhile, the promise of bountiful food that had lured Lee into the armed forces was not all that it had seemed. Although there was a mouthwatering menu posted on the mess hall wall, it was far from the reality. “It was brilliant. Meat and tofu and those little rice cakes – and it changed throughout the week,” Lee remembered. “In reality, we just got bowls of rice with a little corn, over and over… I was always hungry.”

A woman in traditional Korean dress holds a dish of the Korean national dish Kimchi on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Cooperation (APEC) summit in Busan 16 November 2005. Asia Pacific leaders are set to tickle their tastebuds at a royal banquet here with the fiery taste of kimchi washed down by goblets of mushroom wine.

Lee recalled other details of her military service in an interview with The World. “I slept in a female barracks with about 30 other women,” she said. “We all slept on bunk beds. Each of us had a little cabinet with photos of [North Korea’s founder] Kim Il-sung and [his now deceased heir] Kim Jong-il on top.”

North Korean soldiers march during a mass military parade at Kim Il-Sung square in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015. North Korea was marking the 70th anniversary of its ruling Workers’ Party.

And when any of the women did menstruate, they were left to fend for themselves by the North Korean Army. Lee says that women on their periods frequently had no choice but to reuse sanitary towels. And some bases had no women’s toilets, denying the recruits the most basic of privacy.

Lee remembered, “After six months to a year of service, we wouldn’t menstruate any more because of malnutrition and the stressful environment. The female soldiers were saying that they are glad that they are not having periods. […] Because the situation is so bad if they were having periods too that would have been worse.”

North Korean female soldiers march during a military parade to mark 100 years since the birth of the country’s founder Kim Il-Sung in Pyongyang on April 15, 2012. The commemorations came just two days after a satellite launch timed to mark the centenary fizzled out embarrassingly when the rocket apparently exploded within minutes of blastoff and plunged into the sea.

As well as these domestic duties, Lee and her comrades were subjected to rigorous physical training and drill regimes. Indeed, so grueling were the demands on the young recruits that many actually stopped having periods. Physical exertion, stress and poor diet combined to take a terrible toll on the young recruits.

Korean People’s Army (KPA) soldiers march on Kim Il-Sung sqaure during a military parade marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung, in Pyongyang on April 15, 2017.

French author Juliette Morillot is a pro. on North Korea. She told the BBC, “North Korea is a traditional male-dominated society and traditional gender roles remain. Women are still seen as ttukong unjeongsu, which just translates as ‘cooking pot lid drivers,’ and means that they should ‘stay in the kitchen where they should be.’”

Lee was only 17 when she joined the army, and initially she was content with her new life. Small things, like the fact that she was given a hairdryer, were a real bonus. Unfortunately, though, regular power outages meant it was all but useless. And she discovered that women were expected to do domestic tasks like cooking and cleaning, while this was not required of the males.

Henry Sapiecha

An open letter to men from a difficult woman-Her story

Firstly, many of you are lovely. And I thank those of you who leave supportive comments on my Facebook page, or who engage in respectful and thoughtful debate. I very much enjoy interacting with you all. Please keep hanging around. Maybe you can share my site with your followers & others on facebook.?

But to the rest of you contemplating writing to me, I have a few simple guidelines. If your message falls into one of the below categories, please refrain from pressing send:

Personal attacks

It is fine to disagree with my point of view. My kids do it all the time! But if you wish to voice your disagreement, you will need to use words that convey your thesis in a logical methodical manner, and provide compelling supporting arguments.

Words such as “Your article contains factual errors A, B, and C,” or “You stated X but I can demonstrate with Y and Z that X is invalid,” do exactly that.

Writer Kerri Sackville.

Photo: Nic Walker


To mansplain is to comment on or explain something to a woman in a condescending way. It is predicated on the belief that a man knows more than a woman, even about her own lived experience.

If you are a genuine expert on a topic about which I have written (and, if I am writing about women’s lived experience, being an expert includes ‘being a woman’), please feel free to comment. If not, refrain.

Speculation about my credibility

“No-one is interested.”

This is factually incorrect. Clearly you are interested, or you wouldn’t have read the article and taken the time to respond.

“Who the f–k cares what you think?”

Well, clearly you do. I know this because you are writing to me.

“Are you even a real journo?”

Well, the people responsible for the content of this publication (the “editors”) have paid me to write, so technically, yes, I am a real journo.

“Women do bad things too!”

Sometimes I write about certain poor behaviors exhibited by men. This does not mean I believe that women are perfect, or that women don’t do bad things too. It just means that I am writing about certain poor behaviors exhibited by men. If you want to write your own article about women’s bad behaviors, please do. Just do not send it to me. It’s irrelevant to my article.


Just because I write about certain poor behaviors exhibited by men, doesn’t mean I believe that all men exhibit these poor behaviors. You do not need to inform me. #Notallmen, I know.


Some of my articles run alongside a nice photo of me. I could have chosen a photo in which I look terrible (for example, one taken first thing in the morning, or whilst wearing a mud mask) but I prefer a pleasant photo.

Having said that, I do not need you to tell me how ‘sexy’ or ‘hot’ or ‘f—able’ I am in that pleasant photo. I am aware that it is a pleasant photo. Furthermore, I am a writer. I am trying to engage people with my words. When you flatter my appearance, you demean my work. Perhaps that is your intention. See point number 1.


When I was married I wrote about marriage. When I was anxious I wrote about anxiety. Now that I am single and dating, I write about being single and dating.

This does not mean that I accept propositions from random strangers on the internet. And if I did accept propositions from random strangers on the internet, they would have to be a hell of a lot better than,

“Hey I think you’re really hot so you should date me.”

Threats of violence

Most go straight to trash. The rest go to the police.

Thanking you in advance for your consideration.

With very best wishes,

Kerri (Nutty Left Feminist and Difficult Woman)

Kerri Sackville is appearing on a panel about ‘Difficult Women’ at Melbourne Jewish Book Week on Monday 7 May.

Just love your style Kerri. I love mentally strong, intelligent beautiful women.

This site is devoted to women like you.Keep up the great work Kerri Sackville

Henry Sapiecha