It Will Take More Than Franken's Amendment to End the Military's Culture of Violence Against Women
Yesterday, by a 68-30 vote, the U.S. Senate passed Senator Al Franken’s amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill (Amendment 2588) that, according to Stop Family Violence, prevents the Defense Department from using contractors that require, “mandatory employment arbitration of employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault claims”. Franken’s amendment was a response to cases such as that of Jamie Leigh Jones who was raped by fellow employees of Halliburton while serving in Iraq and then told she could not take her case to court but had to pursue her allegations through her employment contract’s binding arbitration clause.
According to the Houston Chronicle, among those who opposed the bill, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said that, “the Defense Department did not want it. He said it would invalidate due process rights of employers and employees and arbitration can be better and less expensive for employees.” How Sen. Sessions concludes that preventing criminal charges in human rights cases is a denial of due process is baffling, to say the least.
Unfortunately, Franken’s amendment only addresses a small part of the continuing blatant disregard for women’s human rights as a result of U.S. military actions. The Asia Times reported yesterday that,