Monday, January 14, 2008

Please tell our leaders that it's not OK to sweep rape under the rug

Two years ago, 20 year old Jamie Leigh Jones was drugged, assaulted, and viciously gang raped on the job by her fellow coworkers. Learning of the attack, her employers placed her under armed guard in a shipping container for 24 hours without access to food or water.

Two years later, these horrific acts of unspeakable violence, as well as, the unbelievable reaction by her employers have gone unpunished and justice has not been served.

Why? How this could this happen? Because the 20 year old victim was a government contractor at KBR in the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq.

Jamie Leigh Jones, an American citizen, while employed by KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton was brutally gang raped by fellow KBR employees two years ago while stationed in Iraq. Army doctors performed a medical examination which showed that she had been raped (vaginally and anally). However, the rape kit was turned over to KBR and portions of the rape kit have vanished.

Jamie was then ordered by her KBR employers to remain in a shipping container under armed guard for 24 hours without access to food or water until she was rescued after her Member of Congress demanded action by the State Department.

After two years, not only has the Justice Department not brought any criminal charges, but ABC News recently reported that they could not confirm that any federal agency was investigating the case at all.

There are over 20,000 Americans employed by US government contractors in Iraq. These individuals have the same right to treatment, services, and proper investigations when they are the victims of violent crime as those of us here at home. Their offenders, who are paid with American taxpayer dollar, should be held accountable.

Since Jamie has gone public with her story, it is clear that this is not an isolated incident; many women working for US Government contractors face sexual assault and harassment. Yet, the perpetrators of these violent crimes are not held accountable and justice is not served.

The current state of affairs is absolutely unacceptable. Action is required.

Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter along with Congressman Ted Poe and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, are taking the first step to ensuring accountability. They are sending letters to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanding answers in the KBR rape cases and asking them to clearly define the steps they are taking to ensure that what happened to Jamie will ever happen again.

They need YOUR help to get your Member of Congress to sign on to these letters. It’s been two years and it is obvious that the Departments of Defense and State are not taking this issue seriously. We need to show them that the House of Representatives demands action.

Please call your member of congress as soon as possible and ask them to sign on and demand answers about the KBR rape cases and how they plan to prevent these occurrences in the future.

With your help, we can take the first step to preventing what happened to Jamie from ever happening again.

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