Military Contractor in Iraq Faces More Rape Allegations
Another woman has come forward with allegations of rape by both a fellow KBR employee and a US soldier while working for KBR in Iraq. According to The Nation, the 42-year-old paramedic reported the assault, but was told by KBR employees to keep quiet. Her computer was even confiscated as "evidence" when she emailed a lawyer for advice.
This case is not an isolated incident. Sexual assault of civilian contractors working with the military abroad received public attention in 2005 after Jamie Leigh Jones, a former KBR employee, came forward with allegations that she was drugged and gang-raped by a group of her co-workers in the Green Zone KBR camp in Iraq. Since she went public, many more women have come forward with similar allegations. Jones has testified at Congressional hearings, asking lawmakers to address the difficulties victims of such crimes face in suing their employers when the crimes occur abroad.
Five years after the United States invasion of Iraq, the US has still not created laws to protect Americans working under American contractors in foreign countries. The lack of legal protection makes it difficult for women to defend themselves through the legal system, leaving them in a kind of "legal limbo," according to the New York Times. To date, no one has been prosecuted for sexually assaulting a US civilian in Iraq.
ABC News reports that the Justice Department has now finally agreed to send an official to answer questions about the investigation and prosecution of alleged sex crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Justice Department refused to send an official to a December 2007 hearing on the subject.
Media Resources: New York Times 2/13/08; ABC News 4/8/08; The Nation 4/3/08
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .