A response to this article (and increasing allegations of sexual assault and harassment of civilian employees and military service members in Iraq) could be summarized in one word: accountability.
If contractors and service members were held accountable for their incredulous and criminal behaviors (this includes sexual offenders as well as those who turn a blind eye to the problem), perhaps more victims would be willing to come forward and report these crimes. It's no wonder that the top reasons cited by victims as to why they do not report is because they do not think others will believe them and they are concerned about potential repercusions if they do tell.
My five-year international research study (1997-2002) on this issue included interviews and surveys from female and male victims from across the globe. Sadly, the comments I heard then are still being repeated today by victims of sexual assault associated with the military. When will we finally learn that the sexual offenders and those in positions of leadership who acquiesce to such abuses are not the kind of people we want leading our country or our military?
Thankfully, the Department of Defense developed and implemented a sexual assault and prevention program in 2005. Now we need to ensure that the DoD policies are followed and persons are held accountable--whether military or civilian. I concur 100 percent with Sen Nelson's (no relation) comments that this stipulation should be included in all contracts. If DoD has a zero tolerance policy, then it should apply to their contractors as well.
What has become of us to allow these type of behaviors to persist? Shame on you, KBR. It's time to step up and do the right thing.
Apr 18 2008 - 12:01pm