So what's going on with the mainstream press? Did one too many of their 'heroes' get charged (rightly) with rape? Does rape describe too many of their own sexual encounters? Or are they just too damn immature to discuss a serious issue?
The New York Times which has historically done a shameful job covering rape passes on the story that emerged yesterday. Borzou Daragahi and Ruaa Al-Zarary's "New rape allegation jolts Iraq: A Sunni woman alleges she was assaulted by Shiite soldiers" isn't much better than silence. First, they discount the woman who came forward earlier this week. Why? They have no reason. In fact, dropping back to yesterday's snapshot:
Richard Mauer (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that rape experts who have looked at the page say it "didn't disprove the woman's allegations, . . . and it indicated that the woman suffered extensive injuries, including at least eight bruises on the front of her thighs consistent with a sexual assualt." [. . .] Among the experts Mauer cites are Dr. Karen Simmons of the Rape Treatment Center in Miami ("They did a CT scan of the head, the pelvis, and the neck. These tests would not have shown if someone was sexually assaulted, so there had to have been some kind of other trauma that they found.") and Josuah Weintraub ("It shows that she was brought into a trauma unit in bad shape.").
Are they even aware of that because apparently the only "expert" they know is Willie Caldwell. But they're not interested in exploring her claims and, despite the headline, they aren't interested in the second rape. If they were, they'd tell you that the accused confessed. But that's not even in the article which plays it as the second woman says this happened and maybe it did or maybe it didn't . . .
This benefit of the doubt for the "confessed"? It's not even the accused, the rapists confessed. What the hell is that?
The LAT two-some then wants to give you some sort of look at what Saddam Hussein did. Why? Did they miss it? He had a show execution. He's dead. He's been out of power for nearly four years now. What the hell does Hussein have to do with rapes going on in Iraq today? They can yack on and on about those rapes and find a human rights expert to talk to about those rapes, but they're not interested in either woman that came forward this week.
Martha notes an exception, Ernesto Londono's "Rape of Second Sunni Woman by Iraqi Security Forces Alleged" (Washington Post):
An Iraqi police official in the northwestern city of Tall Afar said Thursday that a military officer and three soldiers had admitted to raping a Sunni woman and recording the act with a cellphone camera.
The four soldiers told an investigative committee convened by the Iraqi army that they sexually assaulted the woman nearly two weeks ago, according to Gen. Najem Abdullah, a police spokesman in Tall Afar.
The soldiers' statement follows another Sunni woman's assertion this week that she had been raped in Baghdad by members of Iraq's predominantly Shiite security forces. Iraq's Kurdish president and its Sunni vice president said Thursday that a judge should investigate her case, which the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has dismissed as groundless.
This is from Yifat Susskind's "Iraqi Police Commit Rape--Armed, Trained, and Funded by the US" (Common Dreams):
The international news media is flooded with images of a woman in a pink headscarf recounting a shattering experience of rape by members of the Iraqi National Police. Most of the coverage has focused on her taboo-breaking decision to speak publicly about the assault, but has ignored the context for understanding--and combating--sexual violence by Iraqi security forces.
As Iraqi women's organizations have documented, sexualized torture is a routine horror in Iraqi jails. While this woman may be the first Iraqi rape survivor to appear on television, she is hardly the first to accuse the Iraqi National Police of sexual assault. At least nine Iraqi organizations (including Women's Will, Occupation Watch, the Women’s Rights Association , the Iraqi League, the Iraqi National Association of Human Rights, the Human Rights' Voice of Freedom, the Association of Muslim Scholars, the Iraqi Islamic Party and the Iraqi National Media and Culture Organization) as well as Amnesty International, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, and the Brussels Tribunal have documented the sexualized torture of Iraqi women while in police custody. And as this case attests, sexual violence is woven into the fabric of the civil war now raging across Iraq. According to Iraqi human rights advocate and writer Haifa Zangana, the first question asked of female detainees in Iraq is, "Are you Sunni or Shia?" The second is, "Are you a virgin?"
Next week, MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, will release a report that documents the widespread use of rape and other forms of torture against women detainees in Iraq by US and Iraqi forces.* The report includes testimonies of numerous rape survivors, collected by the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI). Since November 2005, OWFI has conducted a Women’s Prison Watch project and has found that, "Torture and rape are common procedure of investigation in police stations run by the militias affiliated with the government, mostly the Mahdi and Badr militias," according to their summer 2006 report.
These are the same sectarian Shiite militias that are prosecuting Iraq's civil war, the same militias that stepped into the power vacuum created by the US overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the same militias that have been systematically attacking women in their bid to establish an Islamist theocracy. Since 2003, the political leadership of these militias has been handed control of the Iraqi state by the US, while the militants themselves have waged a campaign of assassinations, rapes, abductions, beheadings, acid attacks, and public beatings targeting women--particularly women who pose a challenge to the project of turning Iraq into a theocracy. As the occupying power in Iraq, the US was obligated under the Hague and Geneva Conventions to provide security to Iraqi civilians, including protection from gender-based violence. But the US military, preoccupied with battling the Iraqi insurgency, simply ignored the reign of terror that Islamist militias have imposed on women.
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org and there will be another entry this morning but I'm too angry to write it currently.