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

9/29/2014 Hope for Afghan Women as New President is Sworn In - Ashraf Ghani, who has has publicly and consistently stated his support for women's rights and women's participation in government, was sworn in as the new President of Afghanistan today at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. Over 1000 national and international guests attended the ceremony, including high-ranking officials from the United Nations and 34 countries, including a delegation from the United States. . . .
 
9/29/2014 Civil Rights Lawsuit for Transgender Workers Is First of its Kind - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has brought two lawsuits on behalf of transgender workers. . . .
 
9/29/2014 Advocates and Legislators Say NFL Corrections Go Wide But Not Deep Enough - Women's rights activists and anti-violence advocates are continuing to put pressure on the National Football League (NFL), calling for a more inclusive and robust institutional response to domestic violence and sexual assault as well as an independent investigation into the League. This summer, NFL executive leadership came under fire after the League failed to take action when video evidence of Ravens' running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee surfaced. . . .