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Baghdad Women Take “Underground Railroad” To Safety

On-the-ground investigation in Iraq: Feminists have created a network of shelters for women who have been raped or abused and remain in danger

WHAT: In a decrepit two-bedroom apartment in downtown Baghdad you’ll find a life-saving shelter for Iraqi women who are victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse. In a special investigation for Ms., journalist Anna Badkhen was the first U.S. reporter allowed inside the shelters. She reports that without secret sanctuaries like this—part of a network known as the Underground Railroad—women like “Samira,” who wound up an often-raped servant after her husband and brothers were killed, would have nowhere to go in a country where raped women are then subject to “honor killings” by their own families.

WHO: Anna Badkhen is available for interviews. She has recently returned from Baghdad, where she was allowed to visit a secret shelter of the Underground Railroad. Badkhen has reported extensively from Iraq since 2003, and her book, A War Reporter’s Pantry, will be published in January.

More information on the “underground railroad” from women’s group MADRE.

Contact Jessica Stites at 310-556-2515 or jstites@msmagazine.com.

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