Last week, CBS News correspondent Lara Logan was assaulted
while covering Egyptian protests in Tahrir square. As details of the
attack emerged, the incident sparked a pointed debate (and stupidly offensive
rhetoric) over the place of female reporters in violent war zones. Over
the weekend, a number of female correspondents have weighed in with
their take on Lara Logan's well-publicized situation and on the double-standard that all too frequently occurs when women go on war
- Women Reporters Face 'Bizarre Patronizing' In the Field figures Susan Reimer
at the Baltimore Sun, herself once told by an editor that "he would be
willing to send me on an assignment where I could be killed--but not one
where I could be raped." Of the many lingering questions after Logan's
assault, Reimer is preoccupied with this: Why did it take CBS five days
to report the details of Logan's assault? Was it because of "some
vestigial concern about identifying victims of sexual assault?" And, Logan has been "asked repeatedly by interviewers
about leaving two young children behind in order to cover war zones, and
she has been candid about the irreconcilable conflict her work presents
to her motherhood. But I don't recall anyone asking Mr. Woodruff what
business he had riding the deadly roads of Iraq when he had a wife and
four children at home."
- Lara Logan Assault Has Broken 'Code of Silence' For Female Reporters
"In the coming weeks, I fear that the conclusions drawn from Ms.
Logan’s experience will be less reactionary but somehow darker, that
there will be suggestions that female correspondents should not be sent
into dangerous situations," writes war correspondent Kim Barker
at ProPublica. She fears that male editors may make "unconscious"
decisions to send men to cover the fighting--which would be a mistake.
Women "do a pretty good job of covering what it’s like to live in a war,
not just die in one," Barker writes. "Without female correspondents in
war zones, the experiences of women there may be only a rumor."
- This Type of Abuse Occurs Frequently, and Not Just in Islamic States In the New York Times, Sabrina Tavernise
gives a first person account of her experience as a war reporter in
Russia, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey. "In none of these places was I
dragged off and raped, but I have encountered abuse in many of them,"
she writes. "In my experience, Muslim countries were not the worst
places for sexual harassment. My closest calls came in Georgia with
soldiers from Russia, a society whose veneer of rules and civility often
covers a pattern of violence, often alcohol laced, toward women."
- I Was In the Same Mob as Lara Logan recounts the Daily Mail's Angella Johnson,
who nevertheless notes her experience "cannot be compared to the trauma
Lara suffered, [but was] deeply upsetting." Here's how Johnson
responded to critics who say that Logan was attacked because she was
"petite and attractive": "I find such comment offensive. No one ever
says a male journalist asked for it if he gets beaten up. And I could
not have covered up more – apart from wearing a burka."
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