Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Perspective: Rape Accusation Reinforces Fears in a Divided Iraq

Above: University students protest against rape in Baghdad today. Left: The 20-year old woman says she was taken to the police station, and raped by three officers.

BAGHDAD, Feb. 21 — The most wicked acts are spoken of openly and without reserve in Iraq. Torture, stabbings and bodies ripped to pieces in bombings are all part of the daily conversation.

Rape is different.

Rape is not mentioned by the victims, and rarely by the authorities. And when it is discussed publicly, as in several high-profile cases involving American soldiers and Iraqi women, it is usually left to the relatives of the victim to give the explicit details.

So when a 20-year-old Sunni woman from Baghdad appeared on the satellite television station Al Jazeera on Monday night with a horrific account of kidnapping and sexual assault at the hands of three officers in the Shiite-dominated Iraqi National Police, people across the country were stunned, some disbelieving, others horrified, but all riveted.

Read the rest at the NY Times