CBS reporter Lara Logan was gang-raped by hundreds of Muslim men while covering the mass demonstrations in Egypt’s Tahrir Square last February. Today she recounted her experience in an article in the New York Times:
“There was a moment that everything went wrong,” she recalled.
As the cameraman, Richard Butler, was swapping out a battery, Egyptian colleagues who were accompanying the camera crew heard men nearby talking about wanting to take Ms. Logan’s pants off. She said: “Our local people with us said, ‘We’ve gotta get out of here.’ That was literally the moment the mob set on me.”
Mr. Butler, Ms. Logan’s producer, Max McClellan, and two locally hired drivers were “helpless,” Mr. Fager said, “because the mob was just so powerful.” A bodyguard who had been hired to accompany the team was able to stay with Ms. Logan for a brief period of time. “For Max to see the bodyguard come out of the pile without her, that was one of the worst parts,” Mr. Fager said. He said Ms. Logan “described how her hand was sore for days after — and the she realized it was from holding on so tight” to the bodyguard’s hand.
They estimated that they were separated from her for about 25 minutes.
“My clothes were torn to pieces,” Ms. Logan said.
She declined to go into more detail about the assault but said: “What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.”
A weakness of the article is its failure to address the role of Islam and Islamic law(1) in fostering attitudes and beliefs that reduce women to the status of chattels under the control of men, subject to punishment –including sexual assault– for acting in an un-Islamic manner. And, based on the example of Muhammad, who, we are told in the Qur’an, gives us a “beautiful pattern of conduct” for all time, women taken prisoner may be enjoyed and used as one would one’s property. The interview dances around the topic, hinting at it by mentioning countries and regions, but never gets to the heart of the problem. For example:
While Ms. Logan, CBS’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, said she would definitely return to Afghanistan and other conflict zones, she said she had decided — for the moment — not to report from the Middle Eastern countries where protests were widespread.
And yet Afghanistan is Islamic and a place where women are treated brutally. To say one would return to Afghanistan, but not “the Middle East” is to draw a distinction without a difference; it ignores the common thread, Islam, and its codification and sacralization of millennia-old tribal attitudes toward women.
When Logan says this shows “the oppressive role of men” in the society, she’s right, but leaving it at that is to turn a blind eye to the elephant in the room.
Another part of the article bears mentioning:
Before the assault, Ms. Logan said, she did not know about the levels of harassment and abuse that women in Egypt and other countries regularly experienced. “I would have paid more attention to it if I had had any sense of it,” she said.
Before we go any further, understand this is not a criticism of Lara Logan, but an observation regarding the parochial naiveté of the journalistic profession overall, which seems to think it can parachute into any troubled part of the world and play the role of “untouchable outside observer.” Not only do these MSM reporters seem to have only the most superficial understanding of the areas they cover, but it’s as if they think the fact that they’re journalists gives them some sort of protection against the anti-American (anti-Western, anti-Jewish, anti-women, &c., &c.) prejudices and rages rife there. While Logan’s example is by far the most horrific, CNN’s Anderson Cooper was also attacked in Tahrir Square, and the NYT’s own Lynsey Addario was sexually assaulted while covering the rebellion in Libya.
There are no “safe passes,” and women especially need to understand the situation they are walking into.
Meanwhile, it’s good to see that Logan is recovering.
(1) And before someone says “religion had nothing to do with this” or “Islam respects women,” you’re wrong.