Balls

Signs of spring!

This morning the air even smells of spring.

On a more somber note, I don’t know if any of you have followed the news about CBS reporter Lara Logan who was attacked and repeatedly sexual assaulted by a crowd in Egypt during the protests. Jim C. Hines did a terrific blog post yesterday about the news coverage. In a nutshell, CBS treated the story as one about a horrific attack on one of their own and another media outlet sensationalized the reporter’s good looks and the lurid details.

Jim makes some really excellent points, so I won’t make them again.

What it reminds of though, was when Matthew Shepard was killed in Laramie. You remember – young, gay man, tied to the fence and beaten to death. National media covered it. Much discussion of hate crimes and what it’s like to be a homosexual in a town in Wyoming. There were a lot of layers to being in the center of a media frenzy like that and I won’t go into them all.

What I’m thinking of now is a conversation I had with my boss at the time. I complained about Matt Shepard’s death receiving so much attention when another had not. Recall this is a university town in Wyoming – we didn’t get much violent crime. A year before, however, Daphne Sulk, a pregnant fifteen-year-old girl was murdered and her body tossed in the snow along a hiking trail above town. Her much older lover – and guidance counselor – was convicted and imprisoned for the crime. No one outside of our town paid much attention.

After all, it’s kind of ho-hum, isn’t it.

When I pointed this out to my boss, that not all murders are weighted the same, he replied “Well, she was engaged in dangerous behavior.”

As if going to a bar and picking up two guys coming down from a three-day methamphetamine binge is a great idea. What happened to Matt Shepard was horrific, but I maintain that if he’d been a woman, no one would have given it much more thought than a sad shake of the head.

Dangerous behavior.

I hate to see that charge leveled at Lara Logan. A woman can be a reporter, but she’d better watch herself. In some ways, I see this as most insulting to men. Do we really believe that men simply can’t help themselves? A pretty woman walks by and, golly gee whiz, they’re overcome and have to rape her. If only she hadn’t been there!

It’s a tired argument, I know, but it’s frustrating to see that our fundamental assumptions don’t change. It’s a man’s right to seek sex, but a woman who leaves the safe confines of a protected life is engaged in dangerous behavior and gets what she gets.

What I love most about the story is that Lara was rescued by Egyptian women and about 20 soldiers. I wish I could know about that part of the story, the women who witnessed and stepped in to save a foreigner.

I hope that Lara Logan recovers, heals and finds the balls to continue on.

I’ll be following her career with great interest.

8 Replies to “Balls”

  1. I've been following this story like mad because it makes me so angry. It's starting to come out now that apparently the mob and people in question were shouting anti-semitic slurs at the same time, which a lot of media outlets are NOT reporting. (I can't find the exact link atm, but I did read it last night.) It just makes the whole scene that much more sinister.

    But yes, once again, women are merely second class citizens, both the madonna and the whore and clearly unable to protect ourselves. Blamed when we try to. Blamed if we can't.

    Okay, I have to stop now, because I'm really getting riled up.

  2. I don't suppose there's any way to separate the human from the animal. We are a perverse and twisted species. And some days, I get the impression the species as a whole only barely deserves to live.

  3. I saw your post on FB about this the other night, Allison. I've been furious since.

    There's not much I can say about it right now that's fit for print, except: I wish Lara strength and healing, and many blessings upon the women and men who were courageous enough to help her.

  4. Actually, I hope Lara finds the ovaries to continue in her chosen career. Seems to me there are already too many balls in the mix.

  5. Interesting about the Anti-Semitic stuff, Allison. Is Logan Jewish? I know she's South African…

    At least we've got the "only barely," Marcella!

    Adding mine to yours, Laura.

    Yes, Linda – good point!

  6. Lara was doing her job. She left the area, but went back because she wasn't going to miss out on one of the biggest human interest stories in history. She had balls and I hope what happened to her doesn't make her lose them. The media always seems to blame the victim, no matter the crime committed. It disgusts me that we live in a society where "it's okay to act like an animal because someone is in your territory and are vulnerable to attack".

  7. I can only say the world is filled with double standards and it's amazing that men like to call women the weaker species.

    Makes you wonder who the weaker species really is when they seem to be unable to resist assaulting a defenseless woman.

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