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Support Women in Iraq

7/16/2007

Since the U.S. occupation and regime change in Iraq, women have lost more freedom than they've gained. For four years V-Day has worked with women on the front lines to help bring security and justice to the women of Iraq who are daily faced with horrendous atrocities and acts against humanity as a result of the forced occupation of their country.

Through Yanar Mohammad and her Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) V-Day has been able to bring much needed resources and materials to these women and have brought this to millions of women and men throughout the world through our 2005 Spotlight Campaign on the Women of Iraq, and our 2007 Spotlight Campaign on Women in Conflict Zones.

A Letter From Yanar Mohammad, President of Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq

Dear Friends in V-Day,
Our OWFI turned 4 years old on June 24th, 2007. We started out as a watching eye and protection for the women of Iraq from the outcome of war.

We spoke out against the kidnappings of women and girls in 2004 as we witnessed a rising sex industry in the surrounding countries. At this day, thousands of women live in humiliation as sex slaves in those places. They can not return to their homes as they will be victims of "honor-killings".

Our shelters have given refuge to many of these women and helped them to a life of safety and self esteem. We had to assist a few of them outside the country every year in order to keep them alive.

We know that the Abou Ghraib scandal is a daily routine in many of the detainment centers where women get beaten and sexually assaulted. Therefore, we went into the women's prison and spoke to hundreds of inmates including minors. We found 8 women and girls who have been raped while detained in police stations, by Iraqi policemen. A young girl of 14, was raped in Baghdad inside a police car by many of the police staff and officers.

Our OWFI activists believe that almost 150 female prisoners were sexually assaulted while detained by police, but that they dare not expose it as they may be killed later by their own families ... and therefore, prefer to deny and forget.

We have asked the officials to get the rapists fired and imprisoned. Although there were some responses, we are persistently demanding and asking for the punishment of the rapists.

Although, the new government tries to illegalize the sheltering of women, we still do it secretly and informally in the houses of our activists. We do not believe women should be the victims of the heinous practice of "honour-killing". When Doa Khalil was kicked and stoned to death by thousands of men, we spoke in outrage and campaigned in order to force the government to take strong measures and change legislation which allows this killing.

Since 2004, OWFI was empowered by the support of our sisters in V-Day. The support reaching to us by V-Day made it possible to save more women from honor-killing, sexual slavery, and also increase the number of feminist warriors who protect the younger and more vulnerable from the increasing threats and miseries connected to war in Iraq.

Nevertheless, this young and strong defender of Iraqi women is threatened at this point as we are not getting support by agencies who do not think it is a good time to "invest" in the welfare of women in Iraq.

We urge all our friends in V-Day to support and empower your sisters in Iraq as we feel abandoned and our lives have been shattered and devastated. If not your female solidarity, we cannot save, protect or empower the women in Iraq.

Looking forward,
Yanar Mohammed
Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, president
07/16/2007

Actions You Can Take:

News Articles:
Iraqi Teenager Forced to be Sex Worker to Feed Family
BBSNews
http://bbsnews.net/article.php/20070521115617112

THE REACH OF WAR; Iraqi Refugees, in Desperation, Turn to the Sex Trade in Syria
New York Times
http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10617FD3F540C7A8EDDAC0894DF404482

For information on OWFI's petition on the Iraq Oil Law please visit http://www.petitiononline.com/iraqoil/petition.html


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