When ABC journalist Bob Woodruff suffered serious injuries covering Iraq in 2006, no one said he shouldn’t have been where he was. No one said he deserved what he got because he was in a dangerous area. No one criticized him for doing his job. No one brought his personal life into the story. Instead, there were well-wishes and prayers for quick recovery from every corner.
Fast forward a few years to Feb. 15, 2011. News breaks that CBS journalist Lara Logan has been sexually assaulted and beaten covering the protests in Egypt. Immediately, the victim blaming starts. Cue the misogynist jokes.
From LA Weekly: “South African TV journalist Lara Logan, known for her shocking good looks and ballsy knack for pushing her way to the heart of the action, was brutally and repeatedly raped while a crowd of 200 celebrated the February 11 resignation of 30-year Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.” (bolding mine)
It also calls her a “gutsy stunner” with “Hollywood good looks.”
From supposedly left-wing journalist Nir Rosen, in comments made on Twitter: “Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger”
“Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong, but if it was worse than [sic] I’m sorry”
From Debbie Schlussel: “So sad, too bad, Lara. No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about. Now she knows. Or so we’d hope. But in the case of the media vis-a-vis Islam, that’s a hope that’s generally unanswered.”
From a truly vile blogger: “Sucks that Lara got raped, but she had it coming.”
Yes, Logan knew the risks. She had been interviewed just a few days before the attack about the danger involved in her job, because she had been detained once before and forced to leave the country. She said about why she went back:
“It’s very hard for me to be away from this story,” said Logan. “I feel in one sense like a failure professionally. I feel like I failed because I didn’t deliver and I take that responsibility very seriously. … Fundamentally it is in my blood to be there and to be on the streets and to be listening to people and to do the best reporting that I can.”
For that sense of duty, a dedication to her job that most of us can only imagine, Logan is being mocked and belittled. Obviously the people doing so are in the minority, but they need to be called out and denounced for what they are: slime.
People who have actual feelings have also written some commentary. A roundup at Salon covers many of the people mentioned above with the title “What not to say about Lara Logan.” Columbia Journalism Review has “Unspoken: Foreign Correspondents and Sexual Abuse.” Ann at Feministing wrote “When rape is a risk that comes with the job.”
Another point that must be made is that this attack is not unique to Egypt. Women are raped and sexually assaulted every minute of every day in every country on Earth. The only thing that causes it is hatred of women, not what the women were wearing or doing or saying or drinking or eating. Really, the only thing that’s different about this case is we have a face to put on it: Lara Logan’s. And I feel a little slimey myself even writing about this, considering this should be a private matter for Logan and her family, but the attack wouldn’t have been publicized at all if she hadn’t given her OK. She had the courage and bravery to disclose it. The least she deserves is a little respect.
As Jamil Smith, a producer for “The Rachel Maddow Show,” put it:
Update: As of Feb. 17, this post is closed to comments.