Women tell of brutal assaults in Iraq that go unpunished
April 9, 2008
That information emerged this morning in often-emotionally charged testimony before a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations panel headed by Florida Democrat Bill Nelson. Since last fall, Nelson has been pressuring federal agencies about unpunished sexual assaults in the war zones, following a
Another disturbing piece of information that emerged in testimony this morning was that the victims of sexual assault in the war zone felt pressured to sweep the incidents under the rug.
“I am unaware of any measures to date being taken against the KBR employee or the member of the
Leamon, who has two sons who served as soldiers in the war zones, worked for Halliburton’s former subsidiary KBR. She says she was sexually assaulted just two months ago by a KBR coworker and a
Another KBR employee, Mary Beth Kineston, said in her testimony, “I also expected that when I made a complaint about such activity, it would be thoroughly investigated in good faith, that is, with an intent to resolve the problem immediately, and that I would be protected from the perpetrator in the meantime. I can assure this committee that none of my expectations about KBR were fulfilled.”
“I’m in a war zone – and, I have to worry about being attacked by my coworkers,” Kineston testified, recounting how she was raped in the cab of her truck by the driver of a vehicle that was parked behind her tanker as they waited one night to fill up with water from the Tigris River.
According to figures supplied by the Pentagon, more than two dozen
But the Justice Department has only sparingly used the 2000 law intended to protect Americans working as contractors in the war zone. In fact, there have been no convictions in a sexual assault of a
The convictions were for sexual abuse of a minor by a Defense Department civilian employee in
“The bottom line is that American women working in
“We’ve got a problem that justice is breaking down here,” said Nelson, who chaired Wednesday’s hearing of the International Operations and Organizations, Democracy and Human Rights Subcommittee.