Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sexual Assaults While Working for KBR Inc.

You might ask; who is KBR Inc.? They are the largest contractor for the United States Army and one of the top 10 contractors for the U.S. Department of Defense. KBR is the world's largest defense services provider. They tackle engineering, construction and many types of services including energy, petrochemicals government and civil infrastructure services. This is a huge public company that employs over 50,000 workers!

Lately KBR has been in the news not for what they provide but for what they lack. Several women that work for KBR have claimed to have been sexually assaulted by other employees that work for KBR. The company avoids any sexual violence claims made by women. Their lack of concern for these incidents has lead women to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on prosecuting crimes this month. Some women informed the Committee that they were discouraged from reporting the rapes and were pressured to sign inaccurate statements with inaccurate details by their employers. One particular woman who worked as a paramedic in a military camp for KBR said that several days after she was assaulted, she had to provide medical care to one of her attackers. She waited to report the rape after she was transferred to another camp because she feared for her safety! It appears that this problem is becoming common among female employees of KBR and also among female military soldiers. One recent case in point is the North Carolina murder and mishandled case of the pregnant soldier Maria Lauterbach, late last year at Camp Lejeune.

Most disturbing, especially with the rape cases of the female soldiers, is that these women are not only doing their jobs, but they are serving our country. These women don't just have the enemy abroad to fight against, but their own fellow male soldiers to fight against as well. They have to fear for their safety twice as much as the men when serving in the army, navy or marines and yet get little, if any, protection from these government entities. If there is any reason for American women to unite or protest for an injustice, this is it! If women in America can't even trust their government to protect them, then who can they trust?

One thing must definitely change: our government should require ALL companies they hire including KBR to make sure ALL of it's employees are safe. Not only safe from job related hazards, but also safe from each other. And if these companies don't comply, they must be penalized and the victims or family members of victims should be compensated. After all, the responsibility of any of these occurrences falls in the hands of whoever does the hiring!
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