The brutal sexual assault of CBS News correspondent Lara Logan sent shock waves through journalistic ranks and shows the dangers of reporting from the field. Logan was assaulted by a mob during post-Mubarak celebrations in Tahrir Square in Egypt while covering the event for CBS. In typical fashion, right-wing pundits have used the horrific attack to fuel anti-Muslim fear here in the United States, and also typical, some have claimed Logan will bask in the attention or that she had it coming.
It should be no surprise that conservatives would use an attack on a woman to inculcate fear and loathing in Americans already mistrustful of Muslims, but the conservative pundits have exposed the level of hypocrisy only they are capable of. Their hypocrisy is that they are condemning Muslims for raping an attractive white woman, but in America, they are redefining rape to make the man a victim. They cannot have it both ways.
Anytime a woman is sexually assaulted it is certain that someone will use it for political gain whether it happens to an American journalist or a college student in Georgia. Glenn Beck used the attack on Lara Logan to substantiate his crazed caliphate conspiracy in Egypt. Beck was wrong, but he couldn’t resist claiming that a brutal rape verified his theory about the Middle East’s human rights violations. Beck never decried Republican attempts in the House to redefine rape as a means of prohibiting abortion because of his religious bent.
Glenn Beck is not the only conservative pundit to capitalize on Lara Logan’s sexual assault with the intention of painting all Muslims or all Egyptians as criminal rapists. Three popular right-wing bloggers, Debbie Schlussel, Robert Stacy McCain, and Sister Toldja took advantage of the attack on Logan to reinforce their arguments against Muslims and the revolution in Egypt. It is bad enough that conservatives use fear mongering to reinforce their Islamophobic tirades, but using the brutal rape to smear all Muslims as dangerous is reprehensible; even for these evil people. There were many beatings and attacks on journalists at the hands of Mubarak’s supporters and police thugs during the Egyptian protests, but conservatives didn’t make an issue of them.
It is noteworthy that conservative pundits have not come to the defense of women while Republicans in the House were trying to change the definition of rape. It is in part because the Republicans and conservative pundits are pandering to the anti-abortion crowd, but if they are so incensed by an American woman being raped, it shouldn’t matter where the attack takes place. In Georgia, a Republican state Representative, Bobby Franklin, introduced a bill that states that a rape “victim” should be called “accuser” until there is a conviction for the crime of rape. The story was covered here, and it demonstrated the contempt that Republicans have for women who have been raped. If Franklin’s definition was applied to Lara Logan, she is just an accuser because the attackers are not convicted, and if the Republicans’ new definition was applied, there would have to be physical proof that Ms. Logan was really raped. Either way, the Republicans and conservative pundits are applying a double-standard to the crime depending on how they can best use it to their advantage.
Rape is not a crime that is unique to Egypt or Muslims, any more than it is foreign in America. Using an “us versus them” mentality to paint Egyptians or Muslims as more apt to commit rape than Americans is wrong because according to studies, 100% of American women suffer some form of street harassment. In America, at events where there are crowds or celebrations with masses of people, women are molested or raped as often as any place on Earth. At college parties, school dances, rock concerts, and street celebrations such as Mardi Gras, there are instances of a crowd of onlookers standing idly by while a woman is attacked and raped. It doesn’t mean that all college students or concert attendees are worthy of hatred, it just means that there are really bad men who use a crowd situation to assault a woman. Republicans do not have an aversion to all Christians because a Christian rapes a woman, or stands and observes an assault without intervening.
Anytime a woman is sexually assaulted, it is a life-changing event that is meant to humiliate the woman and somehow empower the attacker. In the case of Lara Logan, it could have been because she was a foreign journalist, an attractive woman, or just a woman in the midst of a bunch of thugs taking advantage of a crowded square. Conservative pundits are using Lara Logan’s rape to stir up more anti-Muslim sentiment here in America and to institute formal discrimination against female journalists in the field. It is nothing else except bad men using sexual violence to put Ms. Logan in her place, and conservative pundits are using the attack to further anti-Muslim sentiment in America.
If Republicans and conservatives are really outraged by the attack on Lara Logan, they will hold to that standard and stop minimizing rape in this country. There is plenty of recent evidence that Republicans do not think rape is a devastating crime and in Georgia, the woman is just an accuser until the man is convicted. It is not acceptable to use one standard for Lara Logan and a different one for a woman in America. If it is an outrage that an attractive American journalist is raped in Egypt, it is an outrage if an unattractive woman is raped in any American city. If Glenn Beck or any other pundit feels disgust that Muslims in Egypt raped an American woman, then it should be disgusting that Christians perpetrate most rapes in America. Hypocrisy and double-standard have no place when dealing with a crime as despicable as rape, and using such a horrific crime to further hate for a religion at the same time Republicans are redefining rape to stop abortions is shameful. The conservative pundits and Republicans in the House are shameful on both counts; and they are rank hypocrites.