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.