On Sunday, Scott posted the full video from CBS News reporter Lara Logan's revealing 60 Minutes interview in which she described the horrific details of her assault in Cairo's Tahrir Square on February 15. This morning, Glenn replayed Logan's comments on his radio program, noting Logan's tremendous courage in the face of such a traumatizing event.
Though the details are very unsettling, I'd urge everyone to listen to Lara's words and her observations about the situation. During her interview, Logan commented on how the Egyptian men were literally trying to scalp her, tear her limb from limb and steal her innocence through repeated sexual assault. The men turned into animals with no second thought of what is right vs. wrong:
And I'm screaming, thinking if I scream, if they know, they're gonna stop, you know. Someone's gonna stop them. Or they're gonna stop themselves. Because this is wrong. And it was the opposite. Because the more I screamed, it turned them into a frenzy.
Someone in the crowd shouted that she was an Israeli, a Jew. Neither is true. But, to the mob, it was a match to gasoline. The savage assault turned into a murderous fury.
Lara's story is one that should be taken quite seriously, not just because of the seriousness of the crime, but because it's not an isolated incident. In many ways, the term "sexual harassment" has no definition in Egypt, where 98 percent of foreign women and 83 percent of Egyptian women report having been sexually harassed. In reality, Logan is just one of many women who face these horrors every day, but thankfully she has a public spotlight to help shine on this prevalent atrocity.
I personally experienced the barbarity when I traveled to Egypt in 2004. Before our trip even began, I was warned that my light skin and hair color would undoubtedly make me a target for many unwanted advances from random men. Despite the warning, I was still caught off guard and shocked at how many Egyptian men treat women. I personally encountered male shopkeepers who thought selling me a trinket entitled them cop a feel of my breasts. Others used their position as salesmen specifically to gain close proximity. While showing me products' detailed workmanship, they deliberately rubbed their pelvis against my thighs and buttocks. Telling them to stop only seemed to encourage the behavior.
I was forbidden from venturing out alone for fear of a Lara Logan-type scenario.
CNN's Mary Rogers detailed her own experiences months before Logan's assault, pointing out how harassment of women in Egypt comes in many forms -- from "nasty words, groping, being followed or stalked," to "lewd, lascivious looks, and indecent exposure":
Last week, I was walking home from dinner when a carload of young men raced by me and screamed out "Sharmouta" (whore in Arabic.)
Before I could respond, they were gone, but I noticed policemen nearby bursting with laughter. I am old enough to be those boys' mother, I thought.
This incident was minor compared to what happened in 1994, shortly after I moved here. It was winter, and I was walking home from the office, dressed in a big, baggy sweater, and jacket. A man walked up to me, reached out, and casually grabbed my breast.
I applaud both Mary and Lara (and many others) for helping to expose Egypt's quiet disregard for women's rights. While the ancient country has modernized some -- especially compared to many others in the region -- their human rights standards are beyond archaic and, ally or not, the U.S. should not hesitate to encourage serious contemporary changes.