Reporters on the Job
• Healing Hugs: In October, correspondent Anna Badkhen spent five days interviewing Iraqi refugees in Jordan for a documentary on the human costs of war by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "There were four of us crammed into the tiny living room of one woman I talked with: a Jordanian translator, a videographer, a sound engineer, and me," Anna says .Skip to next paragraph
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Khalida told Anna she did not want to speak in front of her young sons, as she didn't want them to know that she had been raped. In the Middle East, rape victims are sometimes killed by their relatives because of what is considered a dishonor. So Khalida asked her boys to stay in the bedroom as she told her story, often breaking into sobs.
But the curious boys kept opening the bedroom door and peeking out, despite repeated requests to stay away. "After the interview was over, Khalida told the boys it was all right to come out," Anna says. "They immediately ran to their mother and embraced her. It was hard to tell whether they had heard her story, or understood it. Whatever the case, they must have sensed that most of all she needed their affection."
"Shortly after, I decided to drop in one afternoon. I was only there a few minutes, when the store had to close, as all stores do, at prayer time," she says. So she joined the staff in the "clubhouse" in the basement of the building. "The wall is plastered with photos of the Riyadh Harley club's tours. It also has 'parking spaces' for the members' bikes, if they choose to keep them there. And, of course, there's also a place for prayers."
– Amelia Newcomb
Deputy World editor