The only reason I heard about the brutal sexual assault of CBS news correspondent Lara Logan was because I was listening to NPR late last night while driving. I try to stay tuned in to the news of the day but honestly, this was the first I had heard about an incident that happened on the day that Mubarak stepped down: a day that was supposed to be about Egyptian Independence...perhaps CBS wanted to wait her story out, why post two big stories in one day?
I'm not saying I'm Lara's biggest follower, but I have a particular respect for her being a young woman covering war zone stories. Furthermore, I like that she has been very outspoken against the bias of Western media coverage when it comes to the realities overseas. She talks about how we never see American soldiers lying dead on the ground and how she wanted to change that.
By unfortunate circumstances she did change that. She became a martyr of sorts because she is one of the first women to come forward and discuss what happened to her in Egypt. NPR brought in someone to discuss this issue and it seems that this is a common occurence female reporters have to endure. The worst part about it, however, is not the rape or assault itself, but the silence they endure afterwards for their job's sake. Documents and testimonies indicate that women are afraid to discuss these incidents with their station out of fear of being taken off future assignments or worse, losing their position entirely.
I must admit that I am proud of Lara for coming out with her story, not only because it takes guts to do so, but also because it is a topic that needs to be visited from many different angles. Men and women are different, there is no doubt about it, and there are arguments about letting female correspondents to continue to cover extreme news - but do we take women out of the field because of the dangers of sexual assault? Or do we provide better protection for them? The risks of the job are different for men and women but they are risks nonetheless. If we can discuss a male reporter being killed or kidnapped, why shouldn't we discuss the assualt of a female reporter? If women are to be treated as equals, then the coverage of these atrocities is just as much a right as their right to be there in the first place. To be silenced is a terrible form of oppression. Especially when everyone else is celebrating.