The Silencing of Tracy Barker
May 05, 2008
Heart over at WomenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Space has an excellent, comprehensive report on Tracy Barker another Halliburton/KBR employee who experienced hrorendous sexual harassment and assault while working in Iraq. The blog takes a hard look not only at the facts of the case but also why it has received relatively little attention compared to the case of Jamie Leigh Jones,
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know why Jamie Leigh Jones, who spent only four days in Iraq, has received the amount of publicity and support sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s received, compared with Barker who spent over a year there in both Baghdad and Basra. I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but wonder whether it is because, as Barker was told, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Gang rape sells, not sexual assault or Ã¢â‚¬ËœjustÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ rape.Ã¢â‚¬Â I wonder whether it might be, in part, because Barker is French Basque/Spanish and is hence a woman of color, therefore not the kind of complainant the blonde American Jamie Leigh Jones is, or because JonesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s father was the kind of man who could gain the immediate attention of a Republican legislator with a quick phone call, securing his daughterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s release within three days of the attacks on her. I wonder if it might be, in part, because Barker is a mother of five, instead of a young woman in her 20s with no children. I wonder whether it was because Barker saw too much, knew too much, including about the attacks of Halliburton employees on Iraqi women as well as Halliburton employees. I wonder if, despite MokhtareÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own admissions, Barker going to his room Ã¢â‚¬â€œ even though as part of her job, it was up to her to address the problem he said he had with his air conditioner Ã¢â‚¬â€ made her claims less interesting or credible somehow. I suspect, in part, it might be because at times, Barker has seemed to castigate and blame herself, to express guilt and remorse for being unable in her drugged exhaustion to fight Craig Grabein off when he raped her, in the way, women often blame ourselves, as though it is up to us to keep men from raping us, instead of up to men to stop raping women.
Whatever the reason, the silencing of Tracy Barker is an outrage. Her story must be heard, and she must receive justice. To that end, I have written this post. Please, spread the word.Ã¢â‚¬ÂKudos to Heart for putting all of this together and asking the necessary questions.