Better burned and disfigured than raped, tortured and killed.
This was the thought that raced through the mind of a 17-year-old Yazidi girl when she thought that Islamic State (ISIS) militants had entered the refugee camp in Iraq where she was staying to take her away and other girls, the Independent reports.
The girl, who asked to be identified only as Yasmin, had heard stories of what ISIS militants have done to thousands of young Yazidi girls like her who were forced to become sex slaves, some of them tortured and even killed.
"Their voice was in my ears," she said, recalling the terrifying incident that happened last year. "I could hear their voice, I was so scared."
Scared to death that such a fate would befall her, Yasmin decided the only way she could stop ISIS from abducting her and turning her into a sex slave was to severely disfigure herself so that she would look undesirable to ISIS militants.
"I couldn't take it anymore," she said.
She then doused her face and body with petrol and lit a match. She endured the terrible pain as the flames burned her skin, including her face and hair, disfiguring her and damaging her nose, lips and ears. The burns covered over 80 percent of her body, according to German specialist Dr. Jan Ilhan Kizilhan.
The doctor met Yasmin when he visited the camp where she lived, soon after she set herself on fire. He brought her to Germany for immediate medical treatment at a physical and mental trauma centre in Baden-Wurttemberg in south western Germany.
Yasmin is one of 1,100 refugee women and girls who have been brought from refugee camps in the Middle East to Germany.
Dr Kizilhan said he met many other people in the camps who told him shocking stories, including those involving small children.
"It was an evil that I had never seen in my life," he said.
"I'm experienced in trauma, I had already worked with patients from Rwanda, from Bosnia, but this was very different. If you have an eight-year-old girl in front of you and she's saying she was sold eight times by ISIS and raped 100 times during 10 months, how can humankind be so evil?"
Yasmin is doing well, Dr. Kizilhan said, but treating her physical and mental health problems will take years.
She now shares a home with her parents, sister, and two brothers, who joined her in Germany.
Yasmin said she wants people to know about her experience.
"It is very important to tell our stories because the world should know what happened to us, so that it doesn't happen again," she said.