Jamie Leigh Jones Congressional Testimony

Jamie Leigh Jones, the Halliburton/KBR employee who reported being gang-raped by her co-workers, only to then be held hostage by her employer, and has been denied anything even resembling justice ever since, testified before Congress this week about the incident. Here's video via Brave New Films, for which I've provided a transcript below. It is truly awful to listen to—and important to listen to as well, not only because it speaks to how profoundly fucked every bit of the Iraq operation is, but also because it provides a rare glimpse into how rape victims who report an assault are often treated, even by the people who are ostensibly meant to help them.

Transcript: And Brianna Morgan [ph], my mother. I went to support Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq on July 25, 2005. Upon arrival at Camp Hope, I was assigned to an all-male barrack. I complained about the living conditions, but Halliburton did nothing to help. I was subject to repeated catcalls, and men who were partially dressed in their underwear, while I was working, walking, to the restroom on a separate floor from me. The EEOC reviewed Halliburton's comments, found them unbelievable, and credited my testimony about what happened. The committee has this finding as an exhibit.

On the fourth day in-country, I stepped outside my barracks to take a call. Afterwards, some co-workers called me over and invited me to join them for a drink. The men identified only as "Halliburton/KBR firefighters" told me that one of them made really good drinks, so I accepted the drink from them. He handed me the drink and said, "Don't worry—I saved all my rufies for Dubai" or words very similar to that. I thought he was joking and felt safe with my co-workers. I believed we were all on the same team. I took two sips from the drink and don't remember anything after that.

The next morning, I was extremely sore between my legs and in my chest. I was groggy and confused. I went to the restroom and realized I had bruises between my legs and on my wrist and was bleeding betw…and was bleeding between my legs. When I returned to my room, a man was laying in the bottom bunk of my bed. It wasn't the same man who gave me the drink. I asked him if he had had sex with me, and he said that he did. I asked if it had been protected, and he said no. I was still feeling the effects of the drug from the drink. I was now very upset at the confirmation of my rape. My heart sank that day.

I reported this incident to a KBR worker, who took me to the KBR clinic. The clinic called KBR security, who took me to the Army CASH. Dr. Dodi Schultz [ph] performed a rape kit analysis, including photographs and a form that indicated all the bruises. She also took swabs, vaginal combings, and scrapings from under my fingernails, as well as my panties and bra, and put the entire kit together in a small, white box. I watched her give this box to the KBR security personnel as I was again turned over to these men.

During the exam, Dr. Schultz confirmed that I had been penetrated both vaginally and anally, and that, quote, I was quite torn up down there. She indicated that, based upon the physical damages to my genitalia, that it was apparent that I had been raped. …Sorry.

The KBR security then took me to a trailer, and then locked me in a room with two armed guards outside my door. I was imprisoned in the trailer for approximately a day. One of the guards finally had mercy and let me use a phone. I called my dad, who contacted Congressman Ted Poe, who took actions to get me out of the country. I believe he saved my life.

I was later interviewed by Halliburton/KBR supervisors, and it was made clear to me that I had essentially two choices: 1. Stay and get over it; or 2. Go home with no guarantee of a job, either in Iraq or in Houston. Because of the severity of my injuries, I elected to go home, despite the obvious threat of being fired. Once I returned home, I sought medical attention, both psychiatric and physical. I was originally sent to a psychiatrist of Halliburton's choosing; the first question asked was, "Are you going to sue Halliburton?" So my mother and I walked out.

Sometime around May 2007, a State Department agent called and said that she was not aware of a rape kit or any pictures of my injuries. I insisted that the rape kit existed and forwarded a copy of KBR's own EEOC response to prove that the Army doctor handed it over to KBR employee at the hospital the night of the rape. It was a few days later that I received a call from the agent stating she had found the rape kit, but the pictures were missing and so were the doctor's notes [skip in tape] top of the rape kit.

I have had reconstructive surgery on my breasts and pectoral muscles do to the disfigurement caused by the brutal attack. I am still waiting for a follow-up surgery, because I am still not back to normal. I have to sleep with a sports bra because of the pain. I still continue to go to counseling three times per week.

It seems that nothing happens in my criminal case unless there is media attention. Right after I was interviewed with 20/20, I was flown to Florida to meet with the Assistant United States Attorney. I asked the AUSA, "Where should I refer victims who contact me through the Jamie Leigh Foundation?" and she responded, quote, "Don't refer them to my office, but you may want to refer them to the Office of Victims of Crime."

This problem goes way beyond just me. Through the Jamie Leigh Foundation, numerous other women have contacted me, who were assaulted and raped and were then retaliated against for reporting those attacks. There are at least eleven others that my attorneys are aware of, not including those filed by [skip in tape] and those who have come to me through my foundation. As indicated by the sworn affidavit, an HR representative from Halliburton, it is clear that sexual harassment was an overwhelming problem in Iraq, and this was known to Halliburton and KBR, but they hide it from unsuspecting victims like myself.

There has been no prosecution after two and a half years. My attorney, Stephanie Morris [ph], wrote a letter to the ombudsman of the Office of Victims of Crime. Also enclosed with the letter: "Hopefully the next victim will not have to wait so long."

The arbitration laws are so abusive that Halliburton is trying to force this into a secret proceeding, which will do nothing to prevent continued abuse of the [?]. What is there to stop these companies from victimizing women in the future? The United States government has to provide people with their day in court when they have been raped and assaulted by other American citizens. Otherwise, we are not only deprived of our justice in the criminal courts, but in the civil courts as well. [?] the laws have left us nowhere to turn.

Thank you, Chairman, and members of the committee, for inviting me to be here today.

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