|photo of Yanar Mohammed with a male soldier is from here|
What follows is an excerpt from an article I read at OpEdNew.com. For the whole article, please go *here*.
... Yanar Mohammed , founding director of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), was interviewed on the state of Iraq as the American occupation ends. She described Iraqi cities full of destroyed buildings and broken streets, with intermittent electricity and unsafe drinking water. Iraq, she said, is now a country of 99% poor and 1% rich living in the Green Zone, burdened with the most corrupt government in the world that is giving control of oil resources to multinational oil companies.
Iraqi women "are the biggest losers" in this war, Mohammed asserted, ending up with extreme lack of freedom, lack of social security, lack of opportunity, and increased sexual terror. Her organization has conducted extensive high-risk investigations into the prevalence and plight of Iraqi widows, women kidnapped and killed, and women trafficked into prostitution. Fifteen percent of Iraq's 1 to 2 million widows are seeking temporary marriages out of economic desperation and extreme insecurity in being a single woman. By 2006, OWFI had observed an "epidemic rise" in the number of women prostituted in brothels, workplaces, and hideouts in Baghdad. Through covert investigation, they learned of the trafficking of women within Iraq for Iraqi men in all regions and for US military, as well as to nearby countries. Democracy in Iraq has been crushed for women.American women soldiers in Iraq were big losers, also. Nearly 200,000 served there, in as dangerous situations as men. Though barred from combat, they patrolled streets with machine guns, served as gunners on vehicles, dismantled explosives, driven trucks down bomb-ridden streets, and rescued the dead and injured in battle zones. These same women found themselves, concurrently, caught in a second, more damaging war - a private, preemptive one in the barracks. As one female soldier put it, "They basically assume that because you are a girl in the Army, you're obligated to have sex with them." Resisting sexual assault in the barracks spills over to battlefield, according to many women veterans, in the form of relentless verbal sexual harassment, punitive high-risk assignments, and the morbid sense that your back is not being watched. ...