Women Report Sex Assaults by Contractors in Iraq

Victims say assaults are common and complaints ignored in legal limbo
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2008 11:03 AM CST
Members of a private security company pose on the rooftop in Iraq. US contractors in Iraq outnumber US military personnel, but they operate in a legal grey area, not covered by military laws and with...   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – American women who report being sexually assaulted while working for contractors in Iraq are finding themselves stuck in a legal limbo, reports the New York Times. They are not covered by military laws, and the reach of American laws over US contractors abroad is still unclear. Contractors like KBR require workers to sign pacts saying disputes will be settled by private arbitration, leaving sexual assault victims unable to get justice.

Some of the thousands of women working for American contractors in Iraq say a culture of sexual harassment is rife, and complaints aren't taken seriously. "I felt safer on the convoys with the Army than I ever did working for KBR,” said a woman who survived an insurgent attack only to later be assaulted by a fellow truck driver. “If you got in trouble on a convoy, you could radio the Army and they would come and help you out."