Amina is putting her beauty salon up for sale. She has recovered from the episode last June when armed men burst in and robbed her clients of cash and jewellery, and she has learned to live with the gunfights that erupt with regularity at the coffee shop next door.
But within the space of a month, she says her teenage apprentice narrowly escaped abduction, a customer was held at gunpoint in another kidnapping attempt and one of her regulars was dragged away by the hair and gang raped.
Such is the pace of events in post-war Baghdad, where the US occupation has ushered in an explosive rise in crime which has wreaked havoc on once genteel areas, and driven women indoors.
Amid the ordinary lawlessness of a city of 5 million with a barely functioning police force, there are particular horrors for women. The last few months have seen the emergence of organized crime, trafficking in drugs and stolen cars -- and, the evidence suggests, in women as well.
At the same time, Baghdad remains a city consumed by thoughts of revenge, against Baathists at first and now increasingly against rival gangs. Many scores are settled by kidnapping and rape.
The breakdown of law and order began with the departure of former president Saddam Hussein's regime, and with it the brutal system of control that had made Baghdad a relatively safe city for its size.
In Amina's neighborhood, the previously respectable coffee shop next door expanded and hired four prostitutes to sit in the back. The gangs soon started coming round, sometimes with their friends in the police, and Amina's customers left.
"No one is going to come here any more," she says. "There is no security, no safety. All my customers come to talk to me and ask me to move."
Last week she reached breaking point. Armed thugs from a gang involved in prostitution tried to kidnap the apprentice on her first day at work, and beat up Amina's husband and two other men who managed to save the girl.
A day later, on Sept. 29, Nada, a prostitute who has become one of Amina's regulars, was not so lucky. Four armed men stormed into the coffee shop where she works, and dragged her by the hair to a waiting car.
Nada says they stopped the car once, to grab another woman wearing a headscarf. They punched her in the face, and shoved her in the car. They drove the women to the riverside north of Baghdad and raped them.
Nada believes her attackers wanted to punish her because she intervened to save a woman friend from a gang. Other women have been raped to avenge wrongs committed by men of the same clan, or singled out for their own associations with the regime.
Some have been abducted and sold into prostitution, in a traffic where the price of a woman is about <
But Nada adds: "Do you think these gangs only kidnap girls like me? No, it's any girl in the street. It's not because of revenge, or because I do the work I do. It's because they can do anything they want."
For Asma, an engineer in her twenties, the attack was utterly random. She was abducted on May 18 from a crowded street in a suburb of Baghdad where she was shopping with her mother, younger sister, and an adult male cousin.
A pickup truck was parked on the kerb, and six men were investigating car trouble. "Suddenly something flashed before my eyes, and we were surrounded. They opened fire all around us," her mother says.