Who Opposes Victims Of Rape Getting Their Day In Court?

Ken AshfordCongress, Women's Issues2 Comments

I don't expect Republicans to be in favor of all, or even most, of the things I support.

But really, this seems like a no-brainer:

In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. She was detained in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and “warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.” (Jones was not an isolated case.) Jones was prevented from bringing charges in court against KBR because her employment contract stipulated that sexual assault allegations would only be heard in private arbitration.

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) proposed an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts from companies like KBR “if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.”

Franken wasn't asking to punish Haillbuton/KBR for their past indiscretions.  He wasn't trying to screw them out of future contracts.  All he was saying was, "If you want a government contract, and if you gang-rape your employees, then you must allow them to sue you in court, rather than in private arbitration."

Now, honestly… who has a problem with that?

Fortunately, Franken's measure passed the Senate, 68 to 30.

But it is that thirty no votes that I find troubling.  30 Senate Republicans — 75% of the entire Republican Senate caucus — voted against this.

But why?  What possible rationale could three-fourths of the Republican Senate caucus have for voting against this?

Is it merely because the amendment was offered by a liberal Democrat?

Or do they actually have a substantive reason for not letting victims of sexual assualt sue their rapist-employer?


UPDATE:  Female Republicans voted unanimously in favor of the amendment.  The 30 no-voters were all (white) male Republican senators.  You know, the "family values" crowd.