A couple of days ago, a female reporter from CBS was sexually assaulted in Egypt. What's unique about the whole situation is not just that it happened, but it occurred right after a number of assaults on western media entities by pro-government forces. To put it more poignantly, it happened after those pro-government forces stopped attacking and took place during the celebrations of the succeeding revolutionaries who managed to overthrow the Mubarak government. In other words, she was attacked by a bunch of Egyptians celebrating a successful revolution against oppression. In even more other words, they were celebrating their freedom by sexually assaulting some random woman.
There are a couple of things that haven't received a whole lot of attention because right now everyone in the world is so happy that "freedom" won the day against oppression. Yet, right after this horrible oppression, a newly "free" people took it upon themselves to conduct horrific, barbaric activities perpetrated against a woman, as if freedom is great, but it should never get in the way of a bunch of guys getting together and taking sexual liberties with random women. After all, isn't that what freedom is all about? Sadly, there is probably an entire country of people who may be thinking just that.
But what bothers me about this is not just that it happened, which does, of course, bother me, but how I first found out about it. I follow news through a number of message boards, and it just so happens that there are a couple of computer gaming boards I follow where some of the more brilliant current events people hang out. I take great pleasure in debating all sorts of issues with these individuals, and it was on that particular day when I first read a thread of this event happening. However, what kept bothering me about the thread was not that the event had happened (which again, bothered me a great deal), but that almost all of the commentary was from people indicating that Lara Logan was the one who should be considered at fault, because she should have known better than to be in a place where she might possibly be raped by men.
I remember staring at the screen, thinking to myself, how could anyone even think something like that? In all of the years I've been arguing with these people, not once did I ever think of them as a bunch of Neanderthals who thought that women should be treated as sexual fodder to be used randomly because they're soft and cuddly, and men are going to do what men are going to do. Yet, in post after post, that's all I was reading.
So, I fired off a response in which I indicated that I was shocked that we still have people who think this way in this day and age. I was astonished at this behavior, and I couldn't believe they would EVER blame a woman for the simple crime of, well, being a woman in a man's world. I knew I was going to rile up some people, but right after I posted my response, the usual suspects started chiming in about how "you need to live in the real world" and that the world is a dangerous place, and if I can't handle the way things happen, then maybe I should stay inside and not dare to play with the big boys, because "your panties might get tussled."
Shortly after this, one post after another came across indicating that I was clueless as to how people live in the real world. Then, one of the posters responded with "um, guys, you know he's an Army special forces guy, right?" And then suddenly the insults stopped. But it literally took another member from the group to point out that the person they were insulting was actually someone who wasn't some girl-like guy for them to actually stop treating me like I was some wastoid of humanity.
But that never changed the perspective of the people who were posting. They still believed it was her fault for being in a place she should not have been.
Shortly after this, Nir Rosen imploded on himself with his tweets saying almost exactly the same thing. The upshot was he lost his job, and today Rosen has tried to salvage any future career by writing a veiled article about how his undoing was really his "enemies" out to get him by taking pot shots at him for things he didn't mean to say. Unfortunately for him, most of the comments generally aren't buying his banter, as he already threw away his career by saying some of the stupid things he said.
But the sorts of things he said were no different from any of the people who I was talking about from that message board. Yet, what I've discovered is that once these people realized their comments were seriously wrong, and they were, they've now just stopped talking about it, moving onto the next subject and pretending nothing happened. That, unfortunately, is what happens all of the time with our mainstream media, and I don't think people really recognize what's going on. People feel they can get away with it as long as they move onto the next subject and pretend they never said anything ridiculous. Mainstream news pundits are filled with morons who do that sort of thing. I'll be honest. I've done it from time to time where I've taken the wrong tact on an issue and then just tried to pretend I never said anything and moved on. So, it's not just enough to point fingers and leave it at that.
The problem we really have is that people do not take accountability for much of what they say and do. Yet, people like Lara Logan still have to get up and try to make it through the next day, realizing that when things turned bad, the people who claim to be the voice of the rest of the people threw her under the bus and hoped no one would ever hold them accountable for doing so. I can't imagine how it must feel for someone who has been treated like dirt, after being treated like an object, and has to face a new day alone.
That's someone who has to live in the real world. I'm just not sure that's all that great a world to have to live in.