Tuesday, July 20, 2004

200 Female U.S. Soldiers RAPED in Iraq by Male Troops....Rape kits call attention to assaults

By Miles Moffeit
Denver Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - Sexual-assault organizations across the country are shipping rape-evidence collection kits to each member of Congress in hopes that more of the investigative tools will end up in the war zone to help troops who are victimized.

That move is in response to growing concerns among victim-rights leaders and several lawmakers that not enough kits are available to help soldiers. Nearly 200 U.S. women soldiers have sought assistance from civilian rape-crisis agencies since the war started, saying they were assaulted by fellow troops. Many have reported their cases were mishandled, in part because of inadequate forensic and medical treatment.

"We've got to get more attention on this issue," said Rita Smith, director of the Denver-based National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. "If we send people into an unsafe environment, they need to be protected."

Pentagon leaders have declined to discuss whether a shortage of the collection kits exists, with a spokesman saying only that "there are rape kits available in theatre" at three combat-support hospitals.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and other women lawmakers say Defense Department officials need to be more candid about whether supplies are adequate to serve victims.

But all members of Congress, which oversees the military, must understand how crucial the kits are in investigating cases and preserving evidence, according to leaders of state sex- assault coalitions.

"Part of the thought process is that most people have never seen them or understand why they should be used," said Kristen Houser, vice president of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. "When you say 'rape kit,' it doesn't mean a lot to some people. The presence of these kits in their offices, we hope, will help wake some people up."

A rape kit generally consists of testing supplies for blood and other bodily fluids - swabs and combs to collect DNA evidence left on the victim's body following a rape. If evidence is collected from a victim rapidly enough, it can bolster the chances for prosecution.

The word from Capitol Hill, so far, is that the mailing effort is bound to make a statement.

"It's an effective tool in establishing whether a sexual assault happened," said Angela de Rocha, spokesman for Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., who has worked on behalf of Air Force Academy cadets to ensure their cases are properly investigated.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., who has led a legislative effort to draft uniform policies for the handling of sexual assault cases in the military, said a massive effort to educate the military is needed over the short term and long haul.

"If we don't create a climate where women feel comfortable reporting their crimes to the military, they'll never come forward to get the rape kit," Slaughter said. "That needs to happen."

"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him."
~ George Bush Jr. 2001-09-13

"I don't know where he (bin Laden) is. I have no idea and I really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."
~ George Bush Jr. 2002-03-13

"I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Not was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes."
~George W. Bush on how he dodged the
Vietnam draft---1994


Used in-http://www.iraq-news-net.de/?/news/news/349/
Courtesy - Denver Post, 2004-07-15


Post a Comment

<< Home