Friday, April 4, 2008

Sexual Assault Among Military Contractors

The Nation has a compelling article about Lisa Smith* who has come forward with another incident of sexual assault while working in Iraq for a military contractor. The problems with reporting sexual assault in these companies is explained well here:
Take Jamie Leigh Jones's case, for example. ... The first is the battle to have the perpetrators prosecuted in criminal court--which, because of Order 17, may be nearly impossible. According to the order, imposed by Paul Bremer, US defense contractors in Iraq cannot be prosecuted in the Iraqi criminal justice system. While they can technically be tried in US federal court, the Justice Department has shown no interest in prosecuting her case. In fact, for more than two years now, the DOJ has brought no criminal charges in the matter. Representative Ted Poe, a Texas Republican who has taken up Jones's cause, reports that federal agencies refuse to discuss the status of the investigation; meanwhile, in December, the DOJ refused to send a representative to the related Congressional hearing on the matter.
Unfortunately, in the interest of "national security," women who sign up for military contract work end up signing away their right to a jury trial and end up trapped and unable to receive justice for such instances of assault. At what point is a corporate contract worth more than the physical and emotional safety of these women?

* Her name has been changed to protect her identity.

Cross posted.


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