regime change fails Iraqi women
Sexual terrorism in Iraq has accelerated markedly since the American invasion according to Emeritus Professor Ruth Rosen, a historian and journalist who teaches public policy at UC Berkeley.
Writing on Tomdispatch.com, Professor Rosen suggests that "the invasion and occupation of Iraq has had the effect of humiliating, endangering, and repressing Iraqi women in ways that have not been widely publicised in the mainstream media".
"As detainees in prisons run by Americans, they have been sexually abused and raped; as civilians, they have been kidnapped, raped, and then sometimes sold for prostitution; and as women -- and, in particular, as among the more liberated women in the Arab world -- they have increasingly disappeared from public life".
Professor Rosen also indicates that a Human Rights Watch report released in July, 2003, titled Climate of Fear: Sexual Violence and Abduction of Women and Girls in Baghdad "found that 'police officers gave low priority to allegations of sexual violence and abduction, that the police were under-resourced, and that victims of sexual violence confronted indifference and sexism from Iraqi law enforcement personnel.' Since then, as chaos, violence, and bloodletting have descended on Iraq, matters have only gotten worse."
Moreover, "countless Iraqi women have become shut-ins in their own homes".
"Before the war ... many educated Iraqi women participated fully in the work force and in public life. Now, many of them rarely go out. They fear kidnap and rape; they are terrified of getting caught in the cross-fire between Americans and insurgents; they are frightened by sectarian reprisals; and they are scared of Islamic militants who intimidate or beat them if they are not "properly covered." .
'Invisible women -- for some Iraqi fundamentalist Islamic leaders, this is a dream come true".
Professor Rosen concludes that "[i]In the early 1970s, American feminists redefined rape and argued that it was an act driven not by sexual lust, but by a desire to exercise power over another person. Rape, they argued, was an act of terrorism that kept all women from claiming their right to public space. That is precisely what has happened to Iraqi women since the American invasion of Iraq. Sexual terrorism coupled with religious zealotry has stolen their right to claim their place in public life."
The Coalition of the Willing's attempt to enforce what is alleged as democracy in Iraq would appear to be little more than a failed attempt to seize control of Iraqi women from fundamentalist Islamics.
The invasion of Iraq proves unambiguously that true democracy will only ever be achieved with government comprising women's and men's legislatures presided over by an executive of elders accompanied by courts of women's and men's jurisdiction.
July 20, 2006