Iraq Sexual Assault Victim: "I Felt Safer On The Convoys With The Army Than I Ever Did Working For KBR"

Illustration for article titled Iraq Sexual Assault Victim: I Felt Safer On The Convoys With The Army Than I Ever Did Working For KBR

Jamie Leigh Jones, the 22-year-old who was gang-raped while working for KBR in Iraq, isn't the only female contractor to suffer under a culture of sexual harassment and subsequent intimidation. Today, the New York Times talks to three other women who were sexually abused in the Mideast by male colleagues while working for KBR, a former Halliburton subsidiary. Mary Beth Kineston, above left, who worked as a driver in Iraq for KBR, was sexually assaulted in 2004 by a male driver, and after she reported it to superiors...nothing happened. Then she was assaulted again, this time by a different KBR employee, and, after reporting it to superiors, she was fired. "I felt safer on the convoys with the army than I ever did working for KBR," says Kineston. "At least if you got in trouble on a convoy, you could radio the army, and they would come and help you out. But when I complained to KBR, they didn't do anything. I still have nightmares. They changed my life forever, and they got away with it."

Pamela Jones and Linda Lindsey are two other women who were abused while working for KBR abroad. Jones, who ended up winning her private arbitration against KBR, said "it was known that if you started complaining that you could lose your job...They give you an 800 number to report. But then they shoved it under the rug, and they told me I was a pest." In the years since another "pest," Jamie Leigh Jones, spoke out last year, 38 other women have come forward with allegations against the company.

There are no hard statistics on the number of sexual assaults on contractors working overseas, the Times reports, because no one in the government is tracking them. What's more, KBR requires its employees to sign waivers agreeing to settle disputes in private arbitration, circumventing the US judicial system entirely. Continues the paper, "the Bush administration has not offered to develop a coordinated response to the problem."

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Limbo For U.S. Women Reporting Iraq Assaults [New York Times]
U.S. Women Reporting Rapes In Iraq Remain In Limbo [International Herald Tribune]

Earlier: Defense Contractors: If It Wasn't For Diplomatic Immunity-Protected Rape, They'd Never Get Laid
How The Halliburton Rape Cases Explain Everything We Think About
"What, Don't You Always End Up In Need Of Reconstructive Surgery After A Night Of Good Consensual Sex?"

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Sigh. This makes me sad and even better mad. As a woman this pisses me off, as a US citizen who VOTES this pisses me off.

I've had this whole credit card and the amount of debt US families are in on my mind for some time and I'm tired. Really, really tired.

As a woman who votes I know we can do better and do more to hold KBR and our government responsible - I don't give a crap about any waiver, assault is assault. If these KRB male employees act this way in another country we are supposed to be "liberating", what's to stop them from assaulting women in that country and when they come back to the states for that matter.

I'm serious. As a woman I'm writing my congressman TODAY and then I'm calling and I'm thinking of ways to get women of all groups and status to say enough.

This is straight crap and has to be stopped.