Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-16-03

Law Enforcement Fails to Respond to Reports of Rape and Abduction in Iraq

Widespread reports of abduction and rape of women in Iraq have been met with disinterest from Iraqi and US authorities, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports in a study released today. Based on more than 70 interviews with officials, victims and their families, the report found 25 credible reports of abduction and sexual assault in Baghdad since the war ended. Along with continued reports of looting, extremism and other acts of violence, this climate of chaos is forcing women to stay in their homes in increasing numbers, HRW reports.

"Women and girls today in Baghdad are scared, and many are not going to schools or jobs or looking for work," said Hanny Megally, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. "If Iraqi women are to participate in postwar society, their physical security needs to be an urgent priority."

Iraqi police officers "did not appear to recognize, or purposefully downplayed, the seriousness of allegations of sexual violence or abductions," according to the report. With no female police officers in Iraq, women have generally been made to believe by male officers that they provoked attacks, according to HRW. In addition, US military police have failed to follow up with sexual violence complaints. The inattention from authorities is compounded by cultural traditions in Iraq that dictate that families blame victims for sexual assault - sometimes leading to incidents of honor killings. "For a woman's family, all this is worse than death," Dr. Khulud Younis, a gynecologist at the Alwiyah Women's Hospital told the Times. "They will face shame. If the woman has a sister, her future will be gone. These women don't deserve to be treated like this."

HRW urged Iraqi and US military authorities to implement urgently needed legal reforms, law enforcement training, and health and support services for women. "The US should deploy a special investigative unit to investigate sex-based and trafficking crimes against women and girls, until such time as the Iraqi police can take up responsibility for it," HRW wrote in a press release.

DONATE Contibute to the Feminist Majority Foundation and support our global women's rights programs

Media Resources: Human Rights Watch Press Release 7/16/03; HRW Report Climate of Fear: Sexual Violence and Abduction of Women and Girls in Baghdad 7/03; New York Times 7/16/03; Associated Press 7/16/03


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

3/27/2015 Security and Women's Rights are Essential to Afghan Recovery - President Ashraf Ghani and a delegation of some 70 plus Afghan leaders came to the US this week to urge Congress and President Obama to extend the deadline for removing support troops from Afghanistan. . . .
 
3/27/2015 Senate 'Vote-A-Rama' Passes Amendments for Equal Pay, Pregnant Workers, Paid Leave, Benefits for Same-Sex Couples - A bipartisan majority of Senators this week voted in favor of budget amendments that show growing momentum for paid sick leave for employees, social security and veterans benefits for same-sex couples, equal pay, and fair treatment for pregnant workers. The votes, though significant, are symbolic. . . .
 
3/25/2015 Afghan Woman Beaten to Death for Burning Koran - A 27-year-old woman ‎who reportedly burned a copy of the Koran inside of a riverside shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan was brutally beaten and burned alive on Thursday. Shocking videos quickly spread on social media showing crowds of men surrounded by hundreds of onlookers assaulting the 27-year-old Farkhunda with bricks and sticks and repeatedly kicking her. . . .