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Halliburton/KBR Attacks Rape Survivor’s Personal Integrity

Halliburton/KBR Attacks Rape Survivor’s Personal Integrity

I’m sure many of you remember the saga of Jamie Leigh Jones and Halliburton from earlier this fall.  In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was viciously gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. Jones was prevented from bringing charges in court against KBR because her employment contract stipulated that sexual assault allegations would only be heard in private arbitration.  In October, Al Franken proposed an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts from companies like KBR “if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court” (as Halliburton did with Jones).  The amendment passed by a 68-30 vote.

But now, Halliburton/KBR are continuing to attempt to prevent Jones from having her case tried in civil court.  After last September, when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Jones, KBR has been petitioning the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling.  And – get this – they’re going after her personal integrity in an attempt to distract from the unforgivableness of their own actions. 

Stephanie Mencimer from Mother Jones reports, “Among its many arguments in favor of a high court hearing: that Jones is a relentless self-promoter who has ‘sensationalized her allegations against the KBR Defendants in the media, before the courts, and before Congress.’” 

KBR is also suggesting that much of Jones’ story is fabricated: “The company says in a footnote, ‘Many, if not all, of her allegations against the KBR Defenandants are demonstrably false. The KBR Defendants intend to vigorously contest Jones’s allegations and show that her claims against the KBR Defendants are factually and legally untenable.’”

Factually and legally untenable?  Or just too horrible for Halliburton to admit?  Let’s go over Jones’ case again.  The attack took place just four days after her arrival in Iraq.  After taking a few sips of her drink, Jones later woke up in the barracks, “naked” and “severely beaten.” Her “breasts were so badly mauled that she is permanently disfigured.”  Jones reported that examinations after the assault revealed that she had been raped both vaginally and anally, but that the rape kit disappeared after it was handed over to KBR security officers.

In an apparent attempt to cover up the attack, Halliburton/KBR then put her in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and “warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.”  Even two years later, the DOJ was still resisting bringing criminal charges, and no federal agency was investigating the case.

Mencimer guesses that Halliburton/KBR is “miffed” about the Franken Amendment, which it credits Jones with getting passed.  And certainly, it does seem fishy that a “wronged” company would want these proceedings to go ahead under wraps – wouldn’t they want to be publicly vindicated?  Could KBR be worried that more women are going to get in line to sue them, now that Jones has made it easier for them?  Mencimer thinks so, and it certainly seems like a plausible suggestion.  But one thing is for sure: Halliburton/KBR is not going to come out of this struggle with a clean public image – and they certainly don’t deserve to.

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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81 comments

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6:49AM PST on Mar 5, 2010

What vile dna has evolved...what a bunch of pack animals, karma will prevail!

5:16PM PST on Feb 1, 2010

I hope she gets justice although I have my doubts.

2:29PM PST on Feb 1, 2010

Jamie Leigh's courage is rewarded:
Buried deep in the Department of Defense budget proposal
released on Monday is language that mirrors an amendment passed into law this year by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

Like that effort -- which came in response to the assault and rape of Jamie Leigh Jones by her fellow employees at defense contractor KBR -- the DoD's budget would prohibit the government from doing business with companies that deny court hearings for victims of assault. It would also allow victims to sue the employers of the contractor and not just the contractor itself. Any contractors whose contracts total more than $1 million or more would be subjected to the legislation.

2:29PM PST on Feb 1, 2010

Jamie Leigh's courage is rewarded:
Buried deep in the Department of Defense budget proposal
released on Monday is language that mirrors an amendment passed into law this year by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

Like that effort -- which came in response to the assault and rape of Jamie Leigh Jones by her fellow employees at defense contractor KBR -- the DoD's budget would prohibit the government from doing business with companies that deny court hearings for victims of assault. It would also allow victims to sue the employers of the contractor and not just the contractor itself. Any contractors whose contracts total more than $1 million or more would be subjected to the legislation.

5:02PM PST on Jan 31, 2010

This kind of garbage is why 98% of rape is not reported and of the 2% that is reported only 80% will even get to court. I am not sure if the numbers have changed all that much over the years but that is just sickening.

9:03AM PST on Jan 31, 2010

"KBR has been petitioning the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling."

The Supreme Joke! After last weeks ruling in favor of corporations, it's apparent that Alito, Roberts, Thomas, Scalio & Kennedy are in the back pockets of the corporations. Lets see how much influence Halliburton actually has. Thank you, Jamie Leigh Jones, for not backing down.

8:45AM PST on Jan 31, 2010

How can this happen ?
This brave survivor needs our support !!!
Shame on Halliburton/KBR !!

7:28AM PST on Jan 31, 2010

thanks for the post

5:59AM PST on Jan 31, 2010

One more note: if Haliburton really thought that nothing happened, they wouldn't have fought going to trial, just as they wouldn't be now. They would want the truth to come out and for themselves to be vindicated. All of their funding should be pulled. Do we really want our taxes to go to a company that allows this sort of thing to go on, probably more often than anyone could guess?

5:55AM PST on Jan 31, 2010

What's sad is that if it wasn't for the 68 men and women that voted to pass the law so people like her could file civil suits, what happened to her would probably still be in the dark. Haliburton was just asking for this when they told her she had to take her case to arbortration. Since when to criminal actions get to be arbortrated? They should have known sooner or later that their actions would be discovered.

To Jamie: hang in there. You are doing the right thing. Our thoughts and prayers go with you in your continued recovery.

To Haliburton: You'll get what's coming to you. Have no doubt about that.

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