Blaming Lara Logan
The newswires are full of reports that war correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted in a crowd in Egypt by a group of strangers. It’s a very straightforward story, right? A violent attack by a mob can’t possibly invoke the specter of slut-shaming, right? If you thought that, you thought wrong. There is no rape so clear-cut that somebody won’t slut-shame and victim-blame. There is no woman or girl who won’t get dragged through the mud.
LA Weekly’s Simone Wilson wallows in material that is transparently irrelevant except to evoke the very specter she disclaims. She says, now that people are calling her out on it, that she doesn’t mean to blame Logan. But what other relevance to the story could there be for Wilson’s recounting of earlier reports of Logan’s alleged dating habits while on foreign assignments? We’re talking about a stranger rape here, so her dating history has no bearing, right? But it’s in the story. Dragging that stuff out again, now that she’s been sexually assaulted by strangers and is in a hospital, serves no proper purpose. It’s a smear.
In the same vein, Nir Rosen, who had a fellowship at NYU, made a nasty remark on twitter about “all the attention she’ll get.” And of course Debbie Schlussel (I’m not linking, you can get there from the link below) went red-meat racist and victim-blaming at the same time.
But I could be too grim here. In fact, while the smears are not surprising, I’m surprised that people are reacting to them. Mary Elizabeth Williams’ piece in Salon calls Wilson, Rosen and Schlussel out for their filth, and she’s not the only one. Criticism of Rosen has been so withering that he has resigned his fellowship!
Maybe in the future, these sorts of smears will be considered unacceptable and potentially career-limiting, the sort of thing that serious people can’t say. It will still take a long time to get from there to where people don’t say it in private, but at least this points to a trend in the right direction.
Now if Wilson was forced to resign, too, then we’d really be getting somewhere.