War is hell for everyone involved. For women, this hell can be especially deep. Recruiters don’t tell those who enlist that 30% of military women will be sexually assaulted while serving. Women who work as contract employees in Iraq face similar dangers.
Jamie Leigh Jones, a former Halliburton/KBR employee in Iraq, recently testified at a Congressional hearing that she was drugged and brutally gang-raped by her co-workers in 2005. Three years later, KBR and the military have failed to punish the perpetrators or provide redress for Jamie Leigh.
We met Jamie Leigh in Washington and we were moved by her courage-under tremendous pressure-to speak out publicly and start an organization, The Jamie Leigh Foundation, to help other women. Since Jamie Leigh spoke out, 38 U.S. women, all contract employees in Iraq, have come forward to report crimes of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Halliburton/KBR has failed to protect the safety of its contract employees, and, in fact, has fostered an environment wherein sexual violence is accepted. Moreover, the company requires employees to sign a private arbitration agreement, forcing them to give up their right to sue the company or have a trial by jury.
“Halliburton is trying to force this into a secret proceeding, which will do nothing to prevent continued abuses of this nature,” Jamie Leigh told Congress. “The United States government has to provide people with their day in court when they have been raped and assaulted by other American citizens.“
Due to Halliburton/KBR’s pattern of fraudulent and abusive behavior, including fostering a work environment conducive to violence against its own employees, we call upon Mr. Robert Kittel, Suspension and Debarment Official of the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency, to debar Halliburton/KBR from future contracts in Iraq.
1. Click here to read Medea Benjamin’s letter to Mr. Kittel and
2. Click here to send your own letter using our sample email.
3. Please also sign our petition in support of the Jamie Leigh Act of 2008, which mandates that companies report criminal violations and provide this information to new employees.
Thank you for helping us hold abusive companies accountable and provide justice to courageous women like Jamie Leigh.