Texas: In Houston this week, the publicized rape of Jamie Leigh Jones finally goes to trial six years after her victimization. Jones says that in 2005, working in Iraq at 20 years old, she was gang raped by several male KBR/Halliburton employees. She had been socializing with the men one evening, and after she accepted a drink from one of them became unconscious until after the attack. Based on her account, her victimization did not end with the violent rapes that night. She was confined without food, water, or communication for 1-2 days under armed guard. Then, the forensic medical exam performed on Jones by a U.S. Army physician was given to KBR. This latter action was a violation and conflict of interest in the chain of evidence of the case.
This case is about the crime of sexual assault. Let us remember, then, that sexual assault is not the fault of the victim. Whether or not a victim is drunk, sober, high, flirtatious, attractive or plain, it is the perpetrator who decided to rape. Also, let us remember that it it is rare for someone to fabricate a sexual assault.
For six years Jones has been hushed and disbelieved by KBR, who insists its innocence. But now Jamie Leigh Jones has a foundation, is married and teaches, and has her day in court. I can’t imagine that this trial will be clean or easy for her, but let’s hope that justice prevails.
India: Although not written this week, I wanted to talk about a Washington Post op-ed about sex-selective abortion in India. The author is Aseem Shukla, co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation and an Associate Professor of Urologic Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. He’s talking about the cultural, societal, and political reasons and consequences for the boy-baby preference that some Indian families hold.
North Carolina/U.S./World: This week the BBC has reported on current compensation efforts by the North Carolina state government to help ease the trauma of the many living victims of forced sterilization. Though the primarily mental-health, sexual orientation and race-determined eugenics programs happened in decades past and ended in 1979, these people have not received acknowledgment of their suffering.