For a Yazidi refugee in Canada, the trauma of ISIS triggers rare, terrifying seizures

The names of Jihan Khudher’s missing family members and fiancé are tattooed across her upper body. When she was a prisoner of the Islamic State in Iraq, she hoped the markings – considered forbidden by some in Islam – would serve as a shield from her captors’ abuse. Now, she is a refugee in Canada, and the tattoos remind her of a family that was torn apart by the militant group’s onslaught in the Middle East.

Photography by Kiana Hayeri/The Globe and Mail


Jihan Khudher doesn’t remember the first time it happened. She remembers the minutes before. She’d just been raped by the man who held her captive. Then he left the room, locking the door behind him. The next thing she remembers took place some unknown time later. She awoke in a medical clinic. Everyone around her spoke Arabic, not her native language. Her rapist stood beside her. He would not explain to her what happened – telling her only that she had been brought there because she was tired. He took her from the clinic and back to the building where she had been imprisoned.

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