Alexandria Bombach's film about the Yazidi activist opens October 19 in New York
Nadia Murad, the young Yazidi activist at the heart of the new film On Her Shoulders, has been named the recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. She shares the award with Congolese surgeon Dr. Denis Mukwege -- a fellow campaigner against sexual violence as a tool of war.
“We want to send out a message of awareness that women, who constitute half of the population in most communities, actually are used as a weapon of war, and that they need protection and that the perpetrators have to be prosecuted and held responsible for their actions,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said in a statement announcing the award.
I share this award with Yazidis, Iraqis, Kurds, other persecuted minorities and all of the countless victims of sexual violence around the world.
Murad, 25, was among thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority in Northern Iraq who fell prey to ISIS when the Islamic militant group overran their territory in 2014. She and thousands of other women and girls were sold into sexual slavery. Six of her brothers were executed by ISIS forces, as part of a genocidal operation against the Yazidis.
In a statement reacting to the Nobel announcement, Murad said, "I share this award with Yazidis, Iraqis, Kurds, other persecuted minorities and all of the countless victims of sexual violence around the world...
"Many Yazidis will look upon this prize and think of family members that were lost, are still unaccounted for, and of the 1,300 women and children, which remain in captivity. Like many minority groups, the Yazidis, have carried the weight of historical persecution. Women in particular have suffered greatly as they have been, and continue to be the victims of sexual violence."
Murad's work to bring attention to the plight of the Yazidis and women subjected to systematic rape is the subject of On Her Shoulders, directed by Alexandria Bombach. The film opens in New York on October 19 and LA on October 24, with a nationwide release to follow. Watch the trailer here:
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.