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Rape and Sexual Assault

THE JAMIE LEIGH JONES GANG RAPE SCANDAL: HALLIBURTON/KBR EMPLOYEE GANG RAPED IN IRAQ BY AMERICAN CO-WORKERS WHO CANNOT BE PROSECUTED

The young woman testifying before Congress in the video above is Jamie Leigh Jones, an amazingly courageous young woman. Be warned, her testimony is immensely disturbing and might be triggering. Jones was gang raped in Iraq by at least seven men — all American employees of Halliburton’s former subsidiary, KBR (as she was at the time) — after drugs were put into her drink during a casual gathering of Halliburton employees. She passed out from the drug and awoke to find herself bleeding, bruised and in great pain. She had been raped anally and vaginally. She suffered such severe injuries to her breasts during the course of the rapes that she has had to undergo reconstructive surgery and must undergo more surgeries in the future. She is in constant pain.

She immediately reported the rapes and was examined by a doctor who used a rape kit. The doctor confirmed and documented that she had been anally and vaginally raped. Photos were taken of her injuries.  Later, those photos and some of the evidence in the rape kit disappeared while in the custody of Halliburton/KBR.

For 24 hours after the rapes, Jones was held prisoner in a container without food and water. She was finally able to borrow a cell phone and called her father in Texas, who called his state representative, Ted Poe, a Republican. Poe contacted the State Department who contacted the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Representatives of the embassy then rescued Jones.

Jones took the job with Halliburton, a U.S. multinational corporation which provides technical products and services for oil and gas exploration and production, in 2005. Halliburton is, bottom line, a war profiteer. When the U.S. goes to war, the government contracts with Halliburton/KBR and similar U.S. corporations to set up shop in the war zone to reconstruct destroyed infrastructures: power plants, telephone exchanges, sewage and sanitation systems, schools, oil pipelines. Halliburton/KBR and similar war profiteers are paid by U.S. taxpayers.  In other words, the U.S. goes to war, countries are devastated, and we hire these corporations supposedly to rebuild. It’s this, among other things, which makes war such a profitable venture for the United States.

Jones was a young military wife and took the assignment in Iraq because she wanted to support the U.S. war effort. She was assigned to an all-male unit and from the beginning she complained to superiors that she was being harassed and was continually being subjected to catcalls. Those catcalls and that hostile, assaultive work environment ultimately became a gang rape which has forever changed Jones’ body, heart, soul and life.

Conyers’ Witness Questions at the KBR Rape Hearing (noting that the Department of Justice did not respond to subpoenas and is basically stiffing the entire American citizenry.)

The Department of Justice has brought no criminal charges against Jones’ rapists or against Halliburton/KBR. As a result of policies and regulations set in place primarily by the Bush Administration, contractors in Iraq are immune from prosecution under both Iraqi and  US law.  Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers did subpoena the Justice Department after learning of what happened to Jones, but the Justice Department simply declined to appear. Short of wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ that the Justice Department will hold itself in contempt for failing to abide by the subpoena, there is really nothing more Conyers can do.

After the rapes, Jones was harrassed by Halliburton/KBR and told she had two options: to make what happened to her “go away,” or to say goodbye to her job. Since her ordeal, she has learned that she is far from alone. She is one of many women who have taken jobs with Halliburton/KBR and other defense contractors overseas during wartime, who were subsequently raped by male coworkers, and who found themselves without options so far as criminal prosecution. Rape victims could keep silent and continue to work alongside their rapists and to take the risk they would be raped again, or they could blow the whistle and be fired, knowing either way, charges would not be filed.

Jones has filed a civil lawsuit against Halliburton and KBR, but KBR wants a private arbitration, which it claims is required by the employment contract Jones signed. If a private arbitration were to take place, instead of a judge, a jury and a public record available to the media and to the general public, there would be a private arbitrator hired by the parties with no official record.

Jones has created the Jamie Leigh Foundation to continue her fight for justice and to work for legislation which would protect the human and civil rights of women who are raped or otherwise sexually assaulted while working abroad for United States corporations.

The Jamie Leigh Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping United States citizens and legal residents who are victims of sexual harassment, rape and sexual abuse while working abroad for federal contractors, corporations, or government entities. We believe that overseas contractors and corporations should act responsibly, and be held accountable to provide safe housing and a work environment free of sexual harassment, and limit the potential for abuse. We believe that United States civilians who perpetrate crime while working in foreign countries should be held accountable for their actions. The Jamie Leigh foundation will assist victims through advocacy, education, referral and providing support. We work toward the day that no person shall face sexual abuse and harassment, and all persons, regardless of gender, will be able to work without fear, consternation, and safety concerns.”

Here are some ways you can immediately help:

Write your local senator or congressman asking them to:

  • encourage more stringent jurisdictional guidelines for criminal prosecutions of criminal contractors who work outside of the territorial limits of the United States.
  • create a protocal for forensic examinations on government contractor victims.

Sign these petitions

 

Read the “Slaughter-Poe” letter which might serve as a model for your own letter-writing and which provides names of legislators who have stepped up to do battle on behalf of raped employees of U.S. corporations abroad.

You can also donate to the Jamie Leigh Foundation via Paypal.

Remember that Jones was gang raped in 2005, over two years ago, and has been pursuing justice ever since.  I only learned of this today, and only because of an incoming link to my article about Maria Lauterbach to a thread on bulletin boards on a site entitled “Not Alone.”  At the end of the thread that linked to my blog post, there was a link to this post on AfterDowningStreet.org, which in turn led me to this post.

I found myself reeling, reading all of this.  I read three major newspapers every single day.  I watch the news every night at 10.  I pay attention to the blogosphere and to the internet in general.  I am on numerous feminist and women’s e-mail loops as well, yet until now — mostly by happenstance, because I don’t normally click on incoming links — I had not heard of this atrocity.  That these crimes can’t be prosecuted is unconscionable and is hard to believe.  That the Department of Justice does not show up when subpoenaed and that there is nothing that can be done about that is horrifying.  How many women have been raped or gang raped or sexually assaulted abroad while working for one of the top 10 war profiteers  (as of 2004) as follows:

  • Aegis
  • Bearing Point
  • Bechtel
  • BKSH & Associates
  • CACI and Titan
  • Custer Battles
  • Halliburton
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Loral Satellite
  • Qualcomm

How many men have raped their female coworkers while working overseas, laughed about it, and walked away?

Is that one of the perks, for some men, of working overseas during wartime, the freedom to rape any coworker you like with impunity, knowing you will never have to pay for what you’ve done?

Heart
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Discussion

34 thoughts on “THE JAMIE LEIGH JONES GANG RAPE SCANDAL: HALLIBURTON/KBR EMPLOYEE GANG RAPED IN IRAQ BY AMERICAN CO-WORKERS WHO CANNOT BE PROSECUTED

  1. I see Lucinda Marshall of the Feminist Peace Network was on it:

    http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/70784/

    Michael Moore:

    http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/latestnews/index.php?id=10734

    edit this on January 16, 2008 at 10:13 pm4 womensspace
    Echidne:
    http://echidneofthesnakes.blogspot.com/

    Shakes
    http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2007/12/jamie-leigh-jones-congressional.html

    Ann Bartow
    http://feministlawprofs.law.sc.edu/?p=2824

    I still can’t believe I missed this!

    Posted by Heart | January 16, 2008, 10:04 pm
  2. This story is tragic – It makes me want to hit someone and cry at the same time. Thanks for posting the petition information. I will pass the links on…

    Posted by RowdyKittens | January 16, 2008, 10:31 pm
  3. ***As a result of policies and regulations set in place primarily by the Bush Administration, contractors in Iraq are immune from prosecution under both Iraqi and US law.***

    Sounds like the ultimate goal is to make rape (and criminal confinement) as legal as walking down the street minding your own business. Today, just contractors in Iraq, tomorrow…who knows?

    Posted by Branjor | January 16, 2008, 11:12 pm
  4. As a result of policies and regulations set in place primarily by the Bush Administration, contractors in Iraq are immune from prosecution under both Iraqi and US law.

    Does this mean that men can murder women with impunity as well? How ’bout in reverse? Can women open fire on men who try to rape them?

    Posted by Luckynkl | January 16, 2008, 11:59 pm
  5. Sounds like the ultimate goal is to make rape (and criminal confinement) as legal as walking down the street minding your own business.

    Or a way to keep women from going to Iraq, hence, away from the big money opportunity that imperialism provides (used to, women would had stayed away simply because the actions of imperialism are immoral, but now that there are some women who worship the capitalism God as well as men, the men must take another route to suppress a woman’s presence) and then when men begin to rape each other, they will be excused for their homosexuality (because it was rape, but no, it was sex, because rape is sex according to men), something they desired all along but were too much of a coward to admit and practice in their every day life, because if they openly practice (embrace) homosexuality then they will have to admit the system that they set up is not a good system and we cannot have them at fault now can we.

    Posted by ekittyglendower | January 17, 2008, 12:08 am
  6. Yea can I become a contractor and drug and then brutally murder all of those men? Or perhaps I can stab them just enough so that they will survive and have a big surprise when they come to?

    This is wrong. No one has a right to do this wherever they are. The men and I do mean men who are turning their back to this are misogynists and probably raped people themselves. They are men who probably put in some torture porn when they go home and don’t see anything wrong with it. They are men who think women shouldn’t have jobs and she probably deserved getting assaulted by 7 men. These are men I don’t want in my country and who don’t deserve to be alive. This is sick.

    Posted by kiuku | January 17, 2008, 12:20 am
  7. the truth is, and we all know it, is no. A woman cannot do that to a man and get away with it. A man could not do it to a man and get away with it overthere. If there is a way to let men get away with rape, it will happen. There is a way to prosecute these men, but men don’t want to prosecute rape.

    Posted by kiuku | January 17, 2008, 12:30 am
  8. “How many men have raped their female coworkers while working overseas, laughed about it, and walked away?

    Is that one of the perks, for some men, of working overseas during wartime, the freedom to rape any coworker you like with impunity, knowing you will never have to pay for what you’ve done?”

    It’s definitely one of the perks for tons of men who travel to countries like Thailand or Cuba where you can rape an adult, teen or child prostitute for 5.00.

    Posted by Jeyoani | January 17, 2008, 12:52 am
  9. At least if we can catch these guys who travel to countries like Thailand or Cuba to rape someone, they can be prosecuted.

    http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/ceos/sextour.html

    But men who work for corporations like Halliburton, defense contractors, cannot be prosecuted for rape! Not under U.S. law and not under, in this case, Iraqi law!

    They just walk, no worries.

    Posted by womensspace | January 17, 2008, 1:07 am
  10. God we need a revolution. God only knows where to begin. So many comments below Jamie Leigh Jones’ testimony at YouTube sexualize and degrade her.

    I would like to find photos of these rapists but I can’t . If any one has any links please share them, it’d be nice to paste them up so at least these men can be on trial by the people (aka rad fems who care).

    “At least if we can catch these guys who travel to countries like Thailand or Cuba to rape someone, they can be prosecuted.”

    Yeah right.
    Not happening. That’s the beauty of globalization. This older womens rights worker –she works w/an anti-human trafficking group in LA– said to me something like “Globalization has found a place for women and girls. And it’s on their backs”.

    Anyways sorry not to derail this important, very important topic. Just branching off into other depressing subject matter as is my habit.

    Posted by Jeyoani | January 17, 2008, 3:09 am
  11. Charles Boartz is the only defendant named (and I guess identified).

    CHARLES BOARTZ is his name.

    I wish we could blow his picture up and plaster it all over his hometown! I can’t find a picture of him online, although there is a wikipedia page on him.

    How would Bush like it if this happened to one of his daughters? Like someone (my brother) told me, if he had the power to empathize he wouldn’t be who he is period.

    Thanks for the link to her site.

    Posted by Jeyoani | January 17, 2008, 3:21 am
  12. Via Jamie’s testimony: “He handed me the drink and said ‘ Don’t worry, I saved all the roofies for Dubai’…I thought he was joking and felt safe with my coworkers”

    Uuggghh
    (the following in no way, of course, suggests Jamie’s agency in this horrific event) Can I just reiterate that joking about roofies is NEVER to be taken as a joke and anyone that thinks as such should be considered an immediate threat.
    I understand the pressures of social environments especially when they mix with work. But someone saying such an atrocious thing and handing over a drink? Fake sip it, pour it into the trash, pretend to trip and spill the damn thing. But don’t drink it, and get outta there quick.

    Posted by pisaquari | January 17, 2008, 5:08 am
  13. Well, she was 19. I can see how she might have taken that statement as a positive thing, evidence that the idea was so preposterous, the guy would make a joke about it. I have an idea she was idealistic — wanting to serve her country — and had been protected. I was too. When my first ex hit me for the first time, I was absolutely flabbergasted. In my entire life I had never seen a man strike a woman, not even close, not even a gesture, no pushing, nothing. Such a thing would have been absolutely unthinkable in my family. I went into the world with no idea that men hit women. much less raped them, and so when it happened to me, I thought it was some mistake, an anomaly, this could not be happening, and when he cried, I believed he was really sorry. I had no frame of reference for a male partner/boyfriend/husband hitting a woman. I don’t think I’d ever even seen that in movies, movies weren’t like that in those days.

    This was a very young woman who may have had next to zero experience in this kind of situation. I wouldn’t expect her to have had any idea that guy joking about roofies was actually telling her what his intention was.

    jeyoani, the thing is, when soldiers rape women in wartime and get caught, they get prosecuted, i.e., young abir who was gang raped and her whole family murdered by American soldiers. They were all eventually brought to trial.

    This is a bizarre situation in which because these were Halliburton employees, nobody can touch them! To me this is sheer evil, but then Halliburton IS sheer evil. To me the evidence that this was a very idealistic, naive young girl is, she took a job at Halliburton in the first place and went to Iraq feeling as though she was helping her country.

    Posted by womensspace | January 17, 2008, 5:48 am
  14. One amazing woman, great post. I look forward to reading more about her lobbying to bring awareness for crime victims.

    Posted by Holly Desimone | January 17, 2008, 6:23 am
  15. I heard about this on the radio news over the weekend, meant to blog about it, but got distracted and forgot. It was nagging at the edges of my mind, some horrible story I had heard I wanted to blog about, but I could not remember what it was. This is not the first time. I need to make notes for myself.

    Conyers could do something, but he would have to defy the Democratic leadership. He could hold impeachment hearings for that guy who used to run Halliburton. The resolution to impeach Cheney rots in his committee, supposedly too busy to be bothered with such a trifle.

    What is the rationale for this extraordinary immunity from prosecution enjoyed by contractors? They are not diplomats. I do not think even diplomats have immunity from the laws of their own country.

    Posted by Aletha | January 17, 2008, 7:43 am
  16. If these contractors felt secure about drugging, raping, battering, and imprisoning an American citizen, one who was rescued because of her access to a cell phone, an American father, a US Representative, the US Embassy, and the American press…if they felt confident enough to do THAT, I just can’t even imagine the horror this rule about contractors has helped to bring upon Iraqi women.

    But that’s the point, isn’t it? The law was written in the first place in order to shield Our Boys from problems arising out of their victimization of the people who reside in the country they’re invading on behalf of a corporation. Probably especially from selfish Iraqi women who might not fully appreciate a man’s unique sexual demands in wartime.

    It will be interesting to see how Congress justifies the law in the first place, how they justify managing not to NOTICE the large loophole they left for contractors who rape, and explain how they just didn’t mean for it to pertain to *American* women.

    I hope Jones sues the everloving shit out of the men themselves. She didn’t sign an arbitration agreement with them. Though I guess they’d have to be named in her suit against KBR.

    Posted by funnie | January 17, 2008, 12:44 pm
  17. Over 20,000 Americans are employed by US government contractors in Iraq. These individuals have the same right to treatment, services, and proper investigations when they are victims of a violent crime as those of us here at home. Their offenders, who are paid with American taxpayer dollars, should be held accountable. Join us in asking the DoD and the State Department about their efforts to address crimes against government contracted employees.

    (Slaughter-Poe letter)

    Oh – so that’s how they’ll handle it – focusing on the employment-related stuff, like Jones’ foundation does.

    In her case, it makes sense – her employment is how she was exposed to this incident, her employer disregarded her complaints, she lost her job, and she’s being screwed (possibly) out of going to court because of her employment agreement. I have no problem at all with Jones herself focusing on the job aspects, or even with her foundation doing so.

    But I’d encourage any of you writing letters to Congress to focus on holding Americans accountable for their actions abroad, not on protecting American employees abroad, including specifically mentioning Iraqi women. We all know that the rampant abuse of Iraqi women is what skewed these men’s perception of how flagrant their woman abuse could be without being held accountable by any authorities.

    Jones’ experience, sick torture in its own right, is something more than her experience. It’s the ONLY way Americans over here can have any insight at all on the violent degradation of women abroad. We know a little bit about how bad women abroad have it re: our troops, but as much as the deck is stacked against women, at least US soldiers aren’t immune from prosecution.

    How else is the story of what KBR employees do to local women ever going to reach us? If women who are brave enough to go to the police are told there’s nothing that can be done, how will anyone over here even know it’s happening at all?

    I’m absolutely in favor of Jones’ employment rights being protected – but let’s not allow Congress to continue to mythologize her employer and her employment.

    Let’s NOT allow Congress to advocate for American women being protected because they’re part of the noble war machine. “Protection” based on women’s participation in a violent system is not protection of women. It is protection of the system.

    Instead, let’s make our government answer why women’s basic human rights are unenforceable in wartime.

    Posted by funnie | January 17, 2008, 1:17 pm
  18. Exactly, funnie, re this being a window to us as Americans on what happens to women abroad AT OUR HANDS. Definitely the focus must be on women’s BASIC human rights at home, abroad, everywhere. There is a callous disregard EVERYWHERE on the part of the U.S. government, including embassy officials, towards rape and other violence against all women including American women.

    I have been watching this in the case of Heather Jones, the American who has been fighting not to to be deported from Oman due to the acts of her marauding abusive ex who has various connections with officials high up the ladder in Oman, even though she was granted custody of their three kids by Oman’s supreme court, the first American to be granted custody. I haven’t been able to blog about this further and had to pull my earlier posts at Heather’s request, but you know, the behavior of the American embassy in the case has been ATROCIOUS. She has had ALL of these court hearings, she is so alone over there, if she is deported, she can never return to Oman, and yet time after time, Embassy officials did NOT bother to show up to her court hearings or showed up for five minutes and left after having received e-mails, phone calls asking them to PLEASE show up, they have a responsibility to U.S. citizens in Oman, you assholes! This after her situation WAS covered in mainstream media, on national news here in the states, the Embassy is just oh, whatever, some abused woman, who gives a shit. The arrogance, callousness, apathy is stunning.

    And definitely this should not be about protecting our war machine! Though I see the appeal of that route, given that that seems to be the only way to get anybody’s attention.

    Aletha, the guy at After Downing Street wrote of this shield U.S. corporations and employees have against prosecution and the possibilities for impeachment:

    The Iraqi puppet government is barred from prosecuting criminals employed by U.S. contractors in Iraq as the result of one of Paul Bremer’s decrees (CPA Order 17).

    Remember Bremer was the guy in charge of reconstruction in Iraq, if I’m recalling correctly, obviously a Bush appointee.

    The U.S. Justice Department is understood to be barred from pursuing justice as a result of Bush and Cheney’s appointment of Alberto Gonzales clone Michael Mukasey as Attorney General and Congress’ acquiescence in that disgraceful appointment. Another video available at the above link shows Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers commenting on Jones’ case. Seated behind Conyers’ right shoulder is committee staffer Ted Kalo who worked closely with impeachment advocates in 2005 and played a principal role in drafting Conyers’ book laying out many of Bush and Cheney’s impeachable offenses: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/constitutionincrisis

    Having unilaterally disarmed the Congress by promising never to impeach anyone, Conyers possesses limited tools with which to pursue justice for Jones. In this video, he says that he will ask the Justice Department and the Pentagon to handle the matter. And, indeed, Conyers subpoenaed the Justice Department to testify. But without the threat of impeachment, Conyers cannot compel Bush Administration officials to testify or to indict. As has become a pattern ( http://www.democrats.com/subpoenas ) the Justice Department declined to show up, and we can expect Conyers to henceforth clam up about it. He is unlikely to ask the Justice Department to hold itself in contempt, and the only other option he has is one he has promised Speaker Nancy Pelosi he will not use: impeachment of the real decision makers. (Conyers did not support the movement in Congress to impeach Gonzales that may have contributed to his resignation.)

    Posted by womensspace | January 17, 2008, 2:15 pm
  19. It’s really amazing. I can’t help to think, though, that it is the fact that we are dealing with a rape here. If it were any other crime, and the victim not a woman, it would be prosecuted. I find it extremely hard to believe that I could work for Halliburtan, kill people or seriously assault men and get away with it.

    Posted by kiuku | January 17, 2008, 3:09 pm
  20. “I have an idea she was idealistic — wanting to serve her country — and had been protected. I was too. When my first ex hit me for the first time, I was absolutely flabbergasted. In my entire life I had never seen a man strike a woman, not even close, not even a gesture, no pushing, nothing. Such a thing would have been absolutely unthinkable in my family. I went into the world with no idea that men hit women. much less raped them, and so when it happened to me, I thought it was some mistake, an anomaly, this could not be happening, and when he cried, I believed he was really sorry. ”

    Part of what makes me a Feminist is that my father was a good man, a Feminist, and I have yet to know another man like that. Growing up I had no idea what I was in for later on. You make a really good point here, Heart. Jamie was meeting up with men that harassed her. Any normal victim blaming rape blaming man would say they couldn’t have been harassing her and she’s obviously a lying slut or she was naive and deserved it..yet I think from her perspective that she probably agreed to hang out with them because in a way she probably thought that would make them stop harassing her. That she could become one of them, accepted. But no, it was just a set up to drug and rape her. How disgusting. This is premeditation on the part of men to torture someone. And yet somehow it is still her fault and they get away with it.

    Posted by kiuku | January 17, 2008, 4:17 pm
  21. Yeah, Kiuku, that’s what she says in that video, something like, she decided to have a drink with these guys thinking they were all on the same team or in this together or something like that. I do think she thought maybe if they got to know her, they would stop harassing her and treating her so horribly. That IS what decent and honest young girls and women who have been raised with some level of self-respect believe, that it’s just a matter of people getting to know you and seeing that you are a decent person, and so on. They don’t recognize the human capacity for hatred and violence and that it is not informed by any sort of logic or rational thought and that it doesn’t yield to logic or rational thought either. That is the perniciousness of hatred. It is outside of anything rational.

    Posted by womensspace | January 17, 2008, 4:37 pm
  22. The U.S. Justice Department is understood to be barred from pursuing justice as a result of Bush and Cheney’s appointment of Alberto Gonzales clone Michael Mukasey as Attorney General and Congress’ acquiescence in that disgraceful appointment.

    Clear as mud. That sounds like the Justice Dept. has barred itself from pursuing justice. If so, it could decide to unbar itself. This makes no sense to me. However, it does make sense that it prefers to look the other way at the crimes committed by contractors, especially Halliburton. To my legally untrained mind, that sounds like the Justice Dept. should become culpable as well, for refusing to do its job. Is this another case of 9/11 changing everything? Or is Halliburton getting a free pass because Cheney still has a stake in that company?

    I know Congress has ceded much of its power to the executive branch, and its refusal to consider impeachment must greatly embolden the crooks in charge to do as they please, laughing all the way to the bank.

    Posted by Aletha | January 18, 2008, 6:33 am
  23. I hope this young women, and the others like, get justice, and hopefully soon. This story is unbelieveable. I cannot believe these employees are immune from prosecution.

    I agree with Althea:
    “What is the rationale for this extraordinary immunity from prosecution enjoyed by contractors? They are not diplomats.”

    And also with Funnie:
    “How else is the story of what KBR employees do to local women ever going to reach us? […] Instead, let’s make our government answer why women’s basic human rights are unenforceable in wartime.”

    As I am sure that these guys are raping any woman they come across, locals and US women alike. All these women deserve justice, and these rapists, sadistic rapists, need to be put behind bars for the rest of their lives. I mean, FFS, this poor young women is having ongoing multiple surgeries to correct injuries she sustained. The rapists cannot claim (the usual) “just sex”. They are sick fuckers.

    It’s just not safe being female, of any age, of any nationality, in any country.

    Posted by stormy | January 20, 2008, 3:32 pm
  24. It’s because men are in control of justice, and men are so happy when women are raped, inside. It’s the same thousands of men who do searches on the word “rape” in google daily.

    Posted by kiuku | January 23, 2008, 1:38 am
  25. This is not as unusual as you might think. I had almost the same thing happen to me in 1985 while I was stationed in Germany during my first Army assignment. I was assigned to a unit that was all male except for one other female. I went to one of the barracks’ rooms to have a drink with a few guys shortly after I arrived there. I had a high tolerance for alcohol, so I knew something was wrong later when I realized I was out cold after only one drink.

    I woke up the next morning in a strange bed, fully clothed, but something wasn’t right. When I went to the bathroom, I noticed that my bra and panties were on inside out. That didn’t make sense to me. Then I looked in the mirror and saw that I was covered with hickeys. I wondered what I had done last night that I couldn’t remember. It wasn’t like me to not be able to remember. I went over to nightstand to gather my things and that’s when I saw the pictures. I had been gang-raped by four guys and they took plenty of (Polaroid) pictures and left them there for me. I won’t describe what happened, but at least there was no permanent damage.

    So I thought I had an open and shut case, right? Wrong. I went to my commander and he did a small investigation and found that there was no reason to prosecute. Another soldier I met that day, who later became my husband, had taken one year of law school and decided to press charges himself, writing everything up legally. We took it through the chain-of-command, all the way up to the commanding general. No one would touch it.

    Finally, my commander decided that the best way to deal with us was to separate us, so he attempted to send me away to another unit. I quickly married that man who was trying to help me, so that we wouldn’t be separated, and then they sent both of us away and told us to drop it. We thought about going public with the information, but I didn’t want to shame my family back home, so I chose to stay quiet.

    I learned later that those four young men all went on to rape other girls and I don’t think anything happened to them then either.

    Remember the story at the Air Force Academy a couple years back? There truly is nothing new under the sun, and it doesn’t matter if you are a protected contractor or not — men are often not prosecuted for rape in the military.

    Posted by Jen | January 24, 2008, 4:01 pm
  26. Rape has always been a fringe benefit of military service. Well, for that matter, it’s a fringe benefit of maleness itself.

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | January 24, 2008, 4:56 pm
  27. Thanks so much for telling your story, Jen. What an unbelievably horrible experience! I’m so sorry. The behavior of your commanding officers was despicable. It’s all just so wrong. 😦

    Posted by womensspace | January 24, 2008, 5:39 pm
  28. This woman’s case is just part of a bigger picture of sexual exploitation and oppression in Iraq, as a number of posters on this board have pointed out.

    I e-mailed the following paragraph to two women journalists at CBS news, Katie Couric and Lara Logan (foreign correspondent in Iraq):

    I would like to know more about the sexual assault on women in Iraq: rapes by American and coalition forces; rapes by the Iraqi police and military; rapes by Iraqi civilian men; rapes of women and girls detained in prisons; gang rapes; women forced into starvation prostitution—either for the occupying forces or for Iraqis; the increase of brothels in Baghdad and Basra as a result of the occupation; the trafficking of women and girls into prostitution by criminal gangs, either within Iraq or in surrounding countries; the way families are forced to sell daughters for survival; any ‘survival sex’ women and girls are engaged in due to desperation; ‘survival sex’ forced upon the refugee population (2 million in Iraq–2 million in surrounding countries); the trafficking, by U.S. military contractors, of Filipina and Chinese girls into brothels in the Green Zone; the role of the U.S. Military Police in the pimping of Iraqi women and girls; the physical and psychological state of the prostituted Iraqi girls trafficked into the Green Zone for paid rape; the rape of female military personnel by their own men—and anything else you may have seen going on in Iraq. This aspect of the war has been overlooked by CBS news.

    No answer yet. Ms. Jones’ rape is just one of many. Standard Issue Military Rape (SIMR) one soldier from a former war jokingly called it.

    Thousands of those military contractors take R & R in Dubai, a major sex trafficking destination. If they treated Ms. Jones with such savagery, I shudder to think of what these must be doing to the ones in Dubai: these trafficked girls are literally sex slaves and have have no protection at all, under any laws, or in any nation. Men who buy enslaved women are not going to have any respect for the women they work with either.

    Back to Iraq, unfortunately, there women have an even harder time telling their stories than does Ms. Jones, due to the enormous shame visited on the victim of rape (and prosti-tution rape).

    For Ms. Jones to be able to testify about what happened to her in such a climate of indifference and legal obfuscation is itself remarkable. As a gang rape survivor myself, I know that it took me years to be able to open up to anyone about my story—let alone testify in front of an audience, as Ms. Jones has done. For all of our sakes, she is speaking. Thank you, Jamie Leigh Jones.

    Posted by Suki Falconberg | February 1, 2008, 4:33 am
  29. Thank you for keeping comments open. I just heard about this (I don’t have a television).

    I’m so angry that I’m shaking. This makes me literally sick. How in the hell is it that all the American rights I was born with are taken from me by a Company? What is a company?! Nothing but an idea. An idea for which a group of business people will make money. And this Thing has rights which override mine, the rights of a Human Being? I think NOT.

    Oooooh. I’m about to start preaching! I’ll go out and spread the word right now.

    Posted by Dinan | March 20, 2008, 9:52 pm
  30. I want to thank all of you for your understanding about Jamie’s courage in coming forward. I appreciate that you have listened to her story with a compassionate and thoughtful mind. For those of you who seek to blame all men and military men in particular, as Jamie’s (male) attorney and former U.S. Marine, please know that we do not condemn all men, and we do not condemn the military. Remember that Jamie’s attackers were civilian contractors – not military members. What we condemn is these monsters who have been granted a free pass for so long that their moraility is now an abomination. We condemn a company that instead of punishing such animals, punishes the employees who report their atrocities. Do not condemn all men – only the guilty – otherwise the very system that we all live under cannot stand.

    Thanks again for your support of Jamie and other victims like her.

    Posted by Todd Kelly | July 20, 2008, 2:39 am
  31. I am appalled at this story. If this had happened to my daughter, I know these men would of face justice one way or another. Why not sue these people in US court civilly, and make them pay? The man in charge of Haliburton should be included, even Cheney, since he still gets an annual stippen from Haliburton.

    Posted by Alonzo James | August 4, 2008, 9:59 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » Congressional Rep Loiuse Slaughter: Letters to DoD and DoS Regarding KBR Rape Case - January 17, 2008

  2. Pingback: Rape « The Apostate - January 28, 2008

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