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February 21, 2011

Rape isn't about the victims

21 February 2011

I have been reading plenty of material regarding the recent assault of CBS reporter Lara Logan in Egypt, just after the country began celebrating their so-called independence.

She was apparently separated from her crew, causing her to be caught up in a 200-strong mob of men, at the hands of whom she suffered a “sustained” sexual assault and beating – she was trapped for at least half an hour in every woman’s worst nightmare.

She was rescued by a group of Egyptian women and flown back to the US, where she spent some time in hospital.

My first reaction upon hearing about the assault was horror. I can’t imagine how horrifying it must be for a small woman – for she is described as petite – to be at the mercy of so many strong men who are carefree of the fact that what they are doing is wrong.

Other people’s first reaction was a bit different: some say she deserved it because she put herself in that position – in other words, she got what she was looking for; others said that she was a war mongerer, and her assault would go a long way in making her seem to be a good reporter.

I disagree with the first statement wholeheartedly – this victim-blaming is the same, to me, as someone saying a little girl deserved being molested by an older man because she was wearing a dress.

These crimes should not be about the victim: they should be about society; they should be about the crime.

We are no more to blame for being a hijack victim if we were waiting for our gates to slide open and were caught off guard by a hijacker; we are no more to blame for being held up at the bank as some robber attempts to steal money from the cashier.

The real thing that people should be asking themselves is why the revelation of such an act is turned into malicious words being thrown at the victim rather than questions posed about why society is seemingly accepting of people who do such crimes. Why is this act not used as a statement of how frequent this kind of crime against people is, and used as a means to create awareness and encourage people to come forward?

No wonder 60% of rapes go unreported, and only 6% of rapists ever serve any kind of sentence for their crimes. Victims are petrified, and all these reports serve to do is make people more afraid of reporting.

It’s a convenient situation for the rapist, isn’t it?