The brutal sexual assault of CBS news chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan, while she was covering a celebration following the revolution in Egypt, has not provided us with some shocking revelation. Sexual violence and violence against women, particularly in the workplace or at home are common occurrences, not just in the Arab world but worldwide. We need only look to the recent lawsuit being brought against the pentagon by Women sexually assaulted while serving in the American Military, to know that this is true. There are cases of women being sexually brutalized in every corner of America.
What has come as a bit of a revelation for some is that the public tolerance for sexual discrimination and assault is changing.
The little bird who has tweeted this message to all of us is journalist Nir Rosen, who today had to resign from his fellowship at NYU’s Center for Law and Security for the misogynistic, and frankly unfuckingbelievably stupid things he wrote on twitter about Logan's assault including:
"Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women."
and: "I'm rolling my eyes at all the attention she will get."
Things he later defended callously and repeatedly, according to the timeline of his twitter feeds.
The idea that a journalist would claim he didn’t think his words would be read by the public, or that he was just joking around with some friends and it got out of hand, would seem to place Rosen’s social emotional development firmly in the ninth grade. But there’s more to it.
Rosen, and others who’ve had defensive, ignorant, or misogynistic responses to this crime, have failed to read a significant shift in the dominant culture in which they live. And that failure to read the map, to recognize where we really are right now, is particularly lethal to people working in media.
Liberal left though Rosen may be, hip to the troubles of women, he still appears to inhabit a place where being for equality is a “radical” stance, as made clear in his scrambling-for-damage-control, Fishbowl DC interview in which he says:
“I need to state that my views on women’s rights have always been quite radical (in defense of women).”
He goes on to say that no, really he gets it: “the last eight years of working in the Middle East, parts of Africa and Asia (like Afghanistan) and in Mexico only further outraged me, because I have seen firsthand how brutally women are treated there. And we are only a little bit better in the West.”
“The status of women in the United States,” he says finally, and oh so ironically, “is also deplorable.”
The actual assault of Lara Logan needs no more commentary. It’s a terrible crime. Logan has suffered like one of us does every 34 seconds, and she will recover and she may be changed by the experience. But one thing is for sure, and Rosen’s miscalculation has made it patently clear.
There’s nothing radical about equality for half the global population.
The only people who still think so will see their futures burn up before them, naively believing themselves safe in the hands of a swaggering masculine code that is on its knees and bleeding.
That is just about down for the count.