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November/ December 2013 The War of Rape

What happened to Jamie Leigh Jones in Iraq?

By Stephanie Mencimer

Chatting away outside her classroom last year, she was articulate and intelligent, and sitting with her as she described her efforts to sneak tofu into her daughter’s mac and cheese, it was hard to square that image with the Jones in the legal filings and on the witness stand, the one who may have told a spectacular lie, repeatedly, over the course of nearly seven years, in dozens of high-profile forums, and to the highest reaches of the federal government.

Jones still maintains that her allegations are true. When I asked her whether there was a chance that she had simply misinterpreted what happened that night in Iraq many years ago, she said adamantly, “No. It’s not possible. I woke up needing reconstructive surgery and down there was tore up like it never has been before.… It’s not possible that I got it wrong. And I still have flashbacks.… [W]here do those come from if I got it wrong?… If this didn’t happen, I would have never gone to trial. I wouldn’t want to tell the world I have STDs.”

She continued, “It’s hard to swallow the outcome, it really is. But, like I said, I have to move forward in a positive way and show my children that even if things don’t go the way they should you have to be a strong woman and move on.… I have to show my girls that even if a jury didn’t believe me it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.… I did the right thing by coming forward. It did help others.”

Stephanie Mencimer is a reporter at Mother Jones and a contributing editor at the Washington Monthly.

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