December 19, 2007 – (Washington, DC) – RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, issued the following statement today regarding the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security’s hearing, “Enforcement of Federal Criminal Law to Protect Americans Working for U.S. Contractors in Iraq”:
RAINN applauds the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, and Representative Ted Poe for their quick action and leadership in examining the enforcement of federal criminal laws regarding American civilian contractors abroad. We also commend Jamie Leigh Jones for her courage in going public with her story and testifying today before the subcommittee.
We call on Congress and the Administration to take all steps necessary to investigate the serious allegations of rape and misconduct and to close any jurisdictional loopholes that may exist. Additionally, protocols should be established to ensure that violent crimes committed by American contractors are properly investigated and prosecuted and that the rights granted to victims of sexual assault in the U.S. also apply to those civilian contractors working abroad. The case of Jamie Leigh Jones demonstrates a serious need for oversight of federal agency civilian contractors.
“Civilian contractors working overseas on behalf of American companies face enough dangers. They should not be forced to sacrifice their right to justice if they become a victim of a violent crime,” said Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN, “To be a victim of a sexual assault is devastating. To be a victimized again by the people charged with protecting our citizens and prosecuting offenders is inexcusable.” The FBI ranks rape as the most violent crime after murder and only 40% of assaults are reported. According to Berkowitz, “We must do everything we can to create an environment to encourage victims to report and increase confidence that all allegations will be taken seriously and will be investigated thoroughly---regardless of where the attack occurred.”
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) in partnership with 1,102 local rape crisis centers across the country. The hotline has helped more than one million people since its start in 1994. RAINN is now piloting the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, the first secure web-based crisis hotline providing live and anonymous support. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.