By Bill Goldberg
In 2005, a female employee of KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary in Iraq, was drugged and gang raped by several of her male colleagues. This was done after she reported several times the sexist behavior of many of the men. When she reported the rape to her supervisor, she was locked in a metal shipping crate. She only got out of Iraq by calling her father, who got in touch with their local Congressman in Texas. When she got home and reported the rape, she was told that an arbitration clause in her contract made it impossible for her to sue Halliburton or the men who raped her. She would have to settle for binding arbitration, which meant little if any penalty to the company and no criminal penalty to the men involved.
Recently, newly appointed Senator Al Franken (D-MN) introduced his first bill to Congress, a very narrow addition to the Defense bill that said that the US would not contract with any companies that made arbitration the only way to handle internal crimes of sexual assault or rape. It passed by a vote of 68-30. However, 30 Republican Senators voted against the bill. Please note that many of these Senators were also the ones outspoken about cutting off funding to ACORN for talking about illegal sexual-related matters.
And my questions to those 30 Senators are the following: Why do you feel it necessary to protect the rights of an organization and its employees who may commit rape against those of a woman raped by her colleagues? Where is your morality? Your ethics? Does everything have to be partisan in Congress?
This bill was a no-brainer: protect the rights of rape victims. Did you see a Democrat offering a bill and just deny it out of hand? Did you see Al Franken offering a bill and just deny it out of spite? Or do you really believe that the rights of an organization to protect its employees who committed rape are greater than the rights of the person who was raped?
I would like an answer to these questions from the following Senators:
I would especially like an answer from former Presidential candidate John McCain.
If your Senator is on the above list, please call him and ask why he voted against a bill to help rape victims.
Bill Goldberg is a resident of Harrisonburg, Virginia. His U.S. Senators are Jim Webb (D) and Mark Warner (D), Congressman is Bob Goodlatte (R).