KBR employee recalls attack in Iraq

November 9, 2010 4:32:37 AM PST
A Houston woman is telling her story of survival for the first time on camera. She is a former KBR contractor who began working in Iraq in November of 2008. Warning: This story may be considered graphic.

Anna Mayo says what happened to her one morning in her sleeping quarters changed her life forever. While we don't normally identify rape victims, the young woman says she wants her story heard.

In the fall of 2008, Anna Mayo left Austin to work as a KBR contractor in Iraq. Within a month, she was promoted to an operations specialist with project management.

"I loved it," Mayo said. "I moved up really fast; I got a lot of responsibility."

And then Mayo was moved to the night shift, so that meant sleeping during the day.

"I had a sign on my room that said daysleeper, please come back after 14:00," she said.

On a November morning in 2009, there was a knock on her sleeping container door. She opened it to find a man she says was not an American.

"He told me that he needed to come in and check something in my bathroom," Mayo said.

But he didn't stay long.

"Ten seconds, it seemed like, it was in and out. And then he just walked out. It was just the weirdest thing," Mayo said.

Mayo then called to report the strange incident but was referred to someone in maintenance.

"I blew it off. I mean, they blew it off. They said that's as far as it went and I said, 'OK. Well, I guess he was checking something,'" Mayo said.

But three days later as she slept, there was no knock this time, and when she opened her eyes, that same man was in her room.

"It was just this fear, where I'm in danger," Mayo said. " I immediately knew that I was in danger."

He attacked, grabbing her hair and she fought back.

"He took his hands and dug them into my eyeballs as hard as he could, and it hurt so bad, and then I got weaker and then he put a rope around my neck," Mayo said.

But Mayo could only fight for so long. She was face down, being raped.

"It was almost a relief because it didn't hurt as bad as when he was ripping my face off," Mayo said.

He had tied her arms behind her back and tried to smother her. She passed out again, and when she came to, she could only crawl.

"I looked in the mirror and I saw a monster," Mayo said. "I couldn't recognize me."

Her hair was falling out, her eyes hemorrhaging. It took all the strength she had left to get help.

"I screamed help and turned around, and I fainted again," Mayo said.

Mayo was transferred to a military hospital in Germany.

"The military hospital was fantastic," she said. "They treated me amazing, like one of their own troops, but the company I worked for, they had nothing to do with me. It was immediately like I was cut off."

Now the former contractor is suing KBR, claiming there is a culture of sexual misconduct within the company.

"I want them to take responsibility or at least show some kind of accountability," Mayo said.

KBR disputes parts of Mayo's story and said in a statement, "Sexual misconduct is not tolerated. Ms Mayo's allegations to the contrary are not correct."

They go on to say Mayo did not follow up after her initial report of that strange maintenance check, adding, "Ms. Mayo made no further inquiries or report that she felt threatened by the incident."

Mayo has recovered from most of the physical injuries.

"Sometimes when I get really hot or I take a shower, you can see a rug burn on my neck," she said.

It's the emotional ones that still haunt her.

A district court just ruled that Mayo's case will not move forward until there is a decision in another pending case against a military contractor, though it involves truck drivers injured on the job.

Mayo's lawsuit is the latest in a series against U.S. companies working military contracts in Iraq. On Wednesday, find out how Mayo is joining other women with similar claims.


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