Friday, February 12, 2010

Women contractor employees finally get some respect

In some relatively good Friday news: the Pentagon is finally showing a small sign of recognition and respect for U.S. employees of U.S. military contractors (private "security" corporations hired by the U.S. government) who are sexually assaulted.

After pressure from Congress, the Pentagon will set up a system to monitor these assaults, and is developing plans of how to help survivors of assault, whether through medical, legal and other forms of assistance.

Many employees, most of them American, have had enormous trouble having their claims taken seriously. One Texas woman, Jamie Leigh Jones, sued Halliburton Co. and its former subsidiary KBR, after some employees gang raped her in 2005 while she was working for KBR in Iraq and the companies did nothing. Jones, who started a non-profit to support other assault survivors, said 40 former employees have contacted her "alleging a variety of sexual assault or sexual harassment incidents -- and claim that Halliburton, KBR or other PMCs have either failed to help them or outright obstructed them," according to the United Press Press International, and there are surely more.

But the Military Criminal Investigative Organizations conducted only 25 sexual assault investigations between 2005 to 2007, according to the New York Times.

Sexual assault, many argue, is hardly given attention within civilian society, and is most definitely a low priority within a military culture with imperial interests. But for all the attention given to comraderie, trust, and military honor, one would think the treatment of women contractors and soldiers within a military environment should be taken far more seriously.

1 comment:

  1. Great article. This is very good news for all. I think the Pentagon will be surprised if every assault victim (sexual and otherwise) is empowered to come forward. Hopefully they will establish a a means to report these crimes that circumvents contractor management. Too many reports of threats and intimidation are on record for those tactics to not be widely used.

    Ms Sparky