Friday, April 29, 2011

“What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.”

Reporter Lara Logan, during the early stages of the Ehyptian revolt was sexually assaulted by a group of up to 300 men.  She now speaks out about her ordeal on "60 Minutes".

Chilling and telling at the same time, her plight is but a microcosm of Islamic doctrine and the behavior of Muslim men. 

From The New York Times April 28 by Brian Stelter

CBS Reporter Recounts a ‘Merciless’ Assault 

Lara Logan thought she was going to die in Tahrir Square when she was sexually assaulted by a mob on the night that Hosni Mubarak’s government fell in Cairo.
Ms. Logan, a CBS News correspondent, was in the square preparing a report for “60 Minutes” on Feb. 11 when the celebratory mood suddenly turned threatening. She was ripped away from her producer and bodyguard by a group of men who tore at her clothes and groped and beat her body. “For an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands,” Ms. Logan said in an interview with The New York Times. She estimated that the attack involved 200 to 300 men.

Ms. Logan, who returned to work this month, is expected to speak at length about the assault on the CBS News program “60 Minutes” on Sunday night.

Her experience in Cairo underscored the fact that female journalists often face a different kind of violence. While other forms of physical violence affecting journalists are widely covered — the traumatic brain injurysuffered by the ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff in Iraq in 2006 was a front-page story at that time — sexual threats against women are rarely talked about within journalistic circles or in the news media.
With sexual violence, “you only have your word,” Ms. Logan said in the interview.

“The physical wounds heal. You don’t carry around the evidence the way you would if you had lost your leg or your arm in Afghanistan.”

Little research has been conducted about the prevalence of sexual violence affecting journalists in conflict zones. But in the weeks following Ms. Logan’s assault, other women recounted being harassed and assaulted while working overseas, and groups like the Committee to Protect Journalists said they would revise their handbooks to better address sexual assault.

Jeff Fager, the chairman of CBS News and the executive producer of “60 Minutes,” said that the segment about the assault on Ms. Logan would raise awareness of the issue. “There’s a code of silence about it that I think is in Lara’s interest and in our interest to break,” he said.

Until now the only public comment about the assault came four days after it took place, when Ms. Logan was still in the hospital. She and Mr. Fager drafted a short statement that she had “suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating.”

That statement, Ms. Logan said, “didn’t leave me to carry the burden alone, like my dirty little secret, something that I had to be ashamed of.”

The assault happened the day that Ms. Logan returned to Cairo, having left a week earlier after being detained and interrogated by Egyptian forces. “The city was on fire with celebration” over Mr. Mubarak’s exit, she said, comparing it to a Super Bowl party. She and a camera crew traversed Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the celebrations, interviewing Egyptians and posing for photographs with people who wanted to be seen with an American journalist.

There was a moment that everything went wrong,” she recalled.

Indeed it did, and Ms. Logan has the perfect opening, as she pointed out to make this subject more than a personal tragedy.  Let's hope she speaks loud enough to affect dialogue and change.

Read it all.

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