â€œWhen I look into a mirror, I can see that my eyes have changed. The bad things I have witnessed and all the stress have made them dark and hollow.
After my parents separated, my dad moved out. We lived in constant fear because the Sunnis and the Shiites were fighting each other and people kept disappearing. Every single morning before my dad left for work as an electrician, he came over to our house and hugged me and kissed me goodbye, crying.
One morning when I was fourteen, my dad didnâ€™t show up. I havenâ€™t seen him since. My family tried to find out what had happened to him and some people told us what they had witnessed: My father was walking down a street, when two cars stopped next to him. A couple of Shiites grabbed him, forced him into one of the cars and made him sit in the middle seat between them. Then they drove away.
We later found out that the license plate number doesnâ€™t exist. To this day, we donâ€™t know whether my father is dead or alive. Not knowing is killing me.
I have an older brother, but he couldnâ€™t flee with me because our family spent all our money on getting me out of the country. We knew that one of us had to stay behind to protect our mum and our stepsiblings. The girls never leave our house because outside, they could get kidnapped or raped. They shouldnâ€™t be in Iraq even for one more minute, but fleeing is too dangerous and too expensive for them.
When I said goodbye to my family, we cried a lot, but they were glad that leaving meant that I wouldnâ€™t have to join ISIS. All I want is to bring my family to safety, too. I want us to live a normal life here, to go to school and to continue working. I am their only hope now.â€