Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Five Years Later

As we've entered the sixth year of the war in Iraq, it has become more and more evident that women in Iraq are worse off in the post-Saddam era.

Iraqi women are suffering disproportionately and silently; women and children account for 70% of displaced people in Iraq. They are experiencing malnutrition, poverty, sexual assault, and a lack of health care. Women in the public sphere are targets for assassination, and sex trafficking is on the rise, as are "honor" killings. Men in Iraq are suffering also; they are more affected by direct military violence, but women are not exempt from that violence, and they face harassment from other Iraqis: brother, husbands, fathers, and religious leaders.

Much of the violence stems from clothing, including, most shocking and horrifying, acid attacks.
'"A month ago I was walking from my college to my house when I was abducted in the street by three men. They dropped acid in my face and on my legs. They cut all my hair off while hitting me in the face many times telling me it's the price for not obeying God's wish in using the veil," Hania Abdul-Jabbar, a 23-year-old university student, recounted.' This was in 2005; however, it is still occurring with frightening regularity today.

The US military is directly contributing to mistreatment of Iraqi women, often arresting (without charging) and imprisoning the wives of insurgents in an effort to pressure the insurgents to surrender.

With a new report released today finding that 41% of American servicewomen have been sexually assaulted during military duty, we have to ask once again: who is this war really helping?


Amelia said...

So let me get this straight...women are being treated beyond poorly by their own families and other Iraqis. So why does America think that imprisoning the wives of insurgents is likely to get insurgents to surrender?

And the report about American servicewomen is disturbing as well...

judgesnineteen said...

Good for you for covering this. So important. Unfortunately, the US military isn't too good with women's rights even at home. Here's an article about what happens when women in the military are raped.

Michael said...

On the whole, the US military is quite horrible on all sorts of identity issues. Womens' rights are ignored, racism is rampant, and religious intolerance of everyone from Muslims to Jews to Atheists either is ignored or justified as 'necessary for the cohesion of the unit'. Bullsh*t, military.

Dark Matter said...

Don't forget that private contracters like Halliburton, its subsidiary KBR, and Blackwater are constantly promoting a "boys will be boys" atmosphere in Iraq and trying tp sweep rape cases under the rug. They're essentially trying to arrange it so that women that work for them that are raped by male coworkers can't report it, can't sue them, and can't confront the rapists, period.

A...well, not exactly shining, but an example is here. It includes a link to a really good article about it in "The Nation." http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2008/04/another-kbr-rape.html

Of course, the Justice Department is ignoring the whole thing and being worse than useless, as usual.