You might have heard about former GMTV presenter turned war frontline reporter Lara Logan being sexually assaulted whilst she was in Egypt covering the resignation of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. That in itself is horrific; no one should be forced against their will, made to feel vulnerable, degraded and no women deserves to feel violated like this – the attack has been defined as brutal, prolonged and sustained. What makes it worse for me though is the media bashing that has followed; Debbie Schlussel, a ‘political pundit’ according to The Daily Mail, or all round major fucking asshole according to me, had this to say about the incident; ‘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. ‘Hope you’re enjoying the revolution, Lara!’ Jesus Christ love, thanks for that. As if it isn’t bad enough that victim blaming is rife, that women the world over feel too ashamed/afraid/vulnerable to come forward following sexual attacks, that rape conviction rates are at an all time low we now have women condoning violence against other women. Oh and she throws in some nice Islamaphobia as well just to meet her quota of people to piss off today.
Yes, Lara is a reporter. Yes she goes into dangerous places and puts herself at risk to an extent but that is not an excuse or justification for this kind of sexual attack and all the dickheads jumping on the blame Lara wagon need to have a fucking word with themselves about compassion and understanding. The woman has been left in a position where her trust has been compromised and she needs people backing her up and supporting whatever decision she makes about her future and not trying to wade in with some handy snippets of advice like her former boss did today when stating that Lara should concentrate on her ‘responsibilities as a mother’. What about the father’s responsibilities? Yes, having children should impact on decisions you make about your life choices but you never hear male soldiers being told to think about their responsibilities as a father do you? No, they are practically knighted on the spot if they can remember their children’s names and hailed as heros because they can hold a gun whereas a female soldier is defined in terms of how fit she is or how likely it is that she will pose for a calendar at some point in her career. Male news reports don’t get stories written about how terrible they are for not being home in time to read a bedtime story to their offspring or for leaving them for days, weeks, months on end to go to far away countries.
Nir Rosen, an American academic, went further in the victim blaming game saying, ‘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 warmonger.’ Other comments that have made my blood boil include this; ‘Messageboards across America have sparked ugly debate about whether an ‘attractive blonde woman’ should have even been reporting in Egypt in the first place.’ This is so infuriating. It firstly insinuates that men can’t be trusted around a vagina and secondly that ‘attractive’ women are ‘asking for it.’ For gods sake, we need to stop turning sexual attacks round on the victim and start dealing with the issues. Comments on the Daily Mail article agree with Nir and Debbie; some saying ‘women think they can do what they want today and this is a wake up call’ and ‘ don’t send women into these situations.’ If it wasn’t for women like Lara and other news reporters most people wouldn’t have a clue what was going on outside of their cosy little lives so this annoys me so much.
To me Lara Logan is an example of a woman taking no prisoners, doing something so typically ‘male’ and doing it well. She has managed to have two children and a media career that requires her to do more than sit in a studio in a low cut dress and heels and read from an autocue; it seems such a shame that a tragedy like this hideous sexual assault has suddenly reminded everyone that she is a dainty lady who needs protecting and shielding at all times and who should probably just give the whole thing up to stay home and make organic home made meals for her husband and children. Because she has responsibilities to them you know. Fuck the responsibilities to herself.