Amai (name changed to protect her identity) sat very still in her chair. Her headscarf was wrapped tightly around her small face. Her large eyes darted around with a mix of childish curiosity and watchful distrust. She recounted the day her childhood was violently stolen.
“I am almost 13 now,” she said. “I was 11 years old when I was forced to get married. My husband was even older than my father.”
Amai fought against child marriage, but as a young girl living in the ISIL-controlled city of Mosul, Iraq, she had little choice.
Adding to the misery, she had an abusive partner. “He treated me really badly. He beat me and cursed me. I was my husband’s second wife, and his first wife helped me. He was beating both of us. She would come and take me upstairs so we could hide,” Amai said.