When Lara Logan of CBS News came forward with the news that she had been brutally sexually assaulted by a group of men while reporting from Tahrir Square, the story caused shock waves. Logan is the chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS, and it is rare for prominent women to come forward with stories of rape or sexual assault.
Maybe because even progressives can’t help but blame women for what happens to them. Noted antiwar reporter Nir Rosen stepped down from his position at NYU after a string of Twitter comments that implied Logan had gotten herself assaulted for her career. Rosen’s apologized, and said that his distaste for Logan’s work colored his response. But this story’s bigger than that… and older.
As a society we’ve yet to disarm rapists—or rape. It hovers around, as a threat to any women walking free, doing her work, let alone free alone, or under the stars. The threat’s extra sting lies in the fact that if you are raped, you may still be blamed. Or disbelieved.
Meanwhile, the right is using what happened to Logan to imply that Egyptians cannot be trusted with democracy. As if rape isn’t common right here at home. One in six American women faces sexual assault in her lifetime.
Women are faced with an impossible dilemma: report and risk derision. Or keep quiet, and watch it keep happening to others.
Lara Logan deserves commendation for going public with her story, and anyone who tries to twist it into anything other than a tale of what happens to women everywhere, all the time, still, is simply making apologies for rape. And for that there’s no apology.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv and editor of At The Tea Party, out now from OR Books. GRITtv broadcasts weekdays on DISH Network and DIRECTv, on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter and be our friend on Facebook.