You could almost have charted the path before it happened. News that Lara Logan, a CBS reporter, had been attacked and sexually assaulted while covering the celebrations of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation broke Tuesday night. Then came the sexual innuendo and the victim shaming, followed quickly by the criticism of her as a working mother away from her babies. Today, there's a scrambling to find assault details on the Internet.
This is the process, and we still have to ask why the American courts system grants sexual assault victims anonymity? Her bosses at CBS have been criticized for not coming out first with the story, indeed delaying reports until it became clear that other media outlets were going to cover it and CBS had to be ahead of the game. I say kudos to CBS for at least giving a fair shot to protecting a victim. Yup, a victim. Remember that word.
Because little about this process has afforded Logan that title. Instead she's been treated like a circus act, with everyone hungry for a glimpse.
Take journalist Nir Rosen, who hopped on Twitter to make jokes about the assault, claiming Logan was trying to "outdo" Anderson Cooper (who was physically but not sexually assaulted during his coverage of Egypt). He got on Cooper's show last night to backpedal on his misogyny. But he's maintaining it isn't fair that Logan is getting something out of this whole debacle:
Dozens of women suffered from this attack, and one of them is going to get all the attention because she's white and she's a celebrity correspondent. I'm not -- again, I'm not defending myself here or justifying it, but just explaining.
Getting all the attention? Is he serious? People are on the Internet today, trying to find out what a group of thugs did to her vagina. Did that word make you cringe? Vagina? Good.
Lara Logan was the victim of a horrendous assault and through no fault of her own. New details indicate she was targeted by members of the crowd screaming, "Jew! Jew!" That alone would be a disturbing reason to attack someone, but throw in the fact that Logan is not actually Jewish, and it's particularly chilling.
She's not feeling like a "celebrity correspondent" this week, not celebrating that her company is getting the attention. If she's a typical sex assault victim, she's now:
- 3 times more likely to suffer from depression
- 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder
- 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol
- 26 times more likely to abuse drugs
- 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide
Attention? Yes, Mr. Rosen, yes mediahounds, Lara Logan needs attention. From medical professionals who can help her through the traumatic aftermath of sexual assault. The way she's been treated by the American public this week may not be physical assault, but it's nearly as bad. Lara Logan has been treated like chattel. Like her most private body parts are not her own. She's been victimized all over again.
Can we put this story to rest yet?
Image via CBS