Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lara Logan's assault not unique - Angella Johnson tells her story

Angella Johnson, a writer for the UK Daily Mail tells readers today about how she too faced sexual assault in Tahrir Square.  Fortunately for Ms. Johnson her incident was far less tragic.
Angela Johnson: I was especially horrified to read of CBS journalist Lara Logan’s sex ordeal as she reported on Egyptians celebrating the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak – because I too was a victim. 
I was a few hundred yards away in Cairo’s Tahrir Square last Friday, unaware that Lara – whom I had worked with at GMTV – was then desperately fighting off a mob of 200 rabid men in a sustained sex assault.
Now I can say what I have only told a few friends since my return: That I too was subjected to several sexual harassment attacks at the scene. Although they cannot be compared to the trauma Lara suffered, they were deeply upsetting. 
The first happened soon after my arrival in the square with photographer Philip Ide. 
At first it had seemed just the merest accidental brush of a hand on my bottom but within seconds I felt another, less hesitant stroke. 
I ignored it and kept moving, firmly gripping Phil’s shirt so we would not be separated in the surge of bodies. The hand behind me thrust forward again, this time boldly grasping a fair amount of jeans-clad flesh. [MORE]
In Ms. Johnson's column, she tells how incidents like the on in Tahrir Square are not isolated incidents, but common place in the Middle East.

From my previous experiences in the Arab world, I have accepted that a minor level of sexual harassment comes with the territory, so I brushed it off. 
It never occurred to me to complain to my bosses. I have never wanted to give male colleagues any reason to treat me differently.
But what happened to Lara has given women like me a chance to tell our story, like the time in South Africa when I fled a Zulu after he pushed his hand down my blouse. 
Or the occasion in Qatar when I fought off a sheikh in full traditional dress trying to force his way into my hotel room.I have had my breasts grabbed in Turkey, been chased by a gang of men while walking down the street in Morocco and generally treated like a piece of meat on a previous visit to Egypt. 
That was why I arrived in Tahrir Square armoured in jeans, a baggy, long sleeve top and with my hair covered with a knitted hat. 
No doubt, as a woman friend has said to me: 'In their minds, you and Lara were just two "infidel whores", the kind of sexually-liberated women they see in films and videos, or the ones who visit on holiday, get drunk and have liaisons with local men.'
Once again I must question the logic of sending women to cover these protest in the Middle East.  If as Ms. Johnson describes, sexual harassments and assaults are an everyday thing, why not expect even worse when one of their  societies breaks down during a revolution?


Ms. Johnson's tale is also a reminder that while we may hope that Egypt embraces a true democracy for all of its citizens, Egypt (and most of the Middle East) may not always be on the same page as to what constitutes true democracy. 


Via: Memeorandum
Via: UK Daily Mail

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

How come this is a surprise to the main stream media? It's not.

This is the land of "moderate, peaceful Muslims" that the apologist and liberals are so eager to trump. They can gang rape you and still stone you for being a whore who corrupted a group of good, Muslim men.

Next time these liberals call someone a racist because they raised the questions about treatments of women in the Muslim world, I welcome them to go there, with their families and wives or daughters, if they dare, and experience local hospitality first hand before calling someone a racist for stating the obvious.

If not, then the liberals should shut up, because you are mocking rape victims to justify your political inclination.

2nd Anony

Gorges Smythe said...

Just gotta love those peaceful, moral muslims.

Greyhawk said...

"Once again I must question the logic of sending women to cover these protest in the Middle East."

If we start preventing women from covering live news in the Middle East, how long will it be before we are exactly like the Muslim men who assault them? That, to my mind, is the real issue. If we start limiting women's professional lives just because they are women then it is a very short leap to "barefoot and pregnant". It is not demeaning of women to desire to protect them, but it is demeaning to limit their freedom just because they are women.

Anonymous said...

Greyhawk:

I find your comparison of preventing women going to obvious harms way as the same as the gang-rapist VERY OFFENSIVE.

There's a difference between a friendly advise, from being turned into gang rapist Muslims.

One can read the real accounts of Lara by the videos pieced together from the mob. She was gang rape by as many as 50 men, and brutality beaten, slapped and punched during the rape.

Many men even BITE off her female body parts while shouting anti-Jewish and anti-American chants.

So, if we try to prevent, or advise, these professional women from going to these dangerous places, we are turning into the same as these men who assaulted them?

That's utterly offensive.

2nd Anony.

Anonymous said...

ps:

Greyhawk: I am sure your heart is at the right place regarding women's professional career. I am not saying you think we are gang rapists.

I am just saying, a legitimate concern of someone's safety, does not make us rapists and murders.

It's OK to be fearful of someones' safety, when we know ALL TOO WELL the history and treatment of females in such nations. We hear news of gang rapes all the time and the women were stoned for "seducing" the rapists.

I remember watching, who was it, some main stream media female reporter going to Af'stan in the 90s, and were bragging about the fact that she, and her crew, almost got blown away by a bazooka on the street.

I am sure she had plenty of advices against her going, and ignoring those advices, was retarded at best.

I am sure she got a name-recognition boost for it, but so is planting your face to a spike and post it on youtube.

2nd Anony.

Clifton B said...

2nd Anony:

There is a lot of romanticizing about "Mainstream Muslims". I too was guilty of it pre-9/11. However, the more I learned about Mainstream Muslims, the more I realized why Muslim extremist has been able to flourish.

Clifton B said...

Gorges Smythe:

See my response to 2nd Anony above.

Clifton B said...

Greyhawk:

I get where you are coming from, it is kind of like appeasement. However, I do believe western women can still challenge the Muslim mindset in safer settings.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

"From my previous experiences in the Arab world, I have accepted that a minor level of sexual harassment comes with the territory, so I brushed it off."

And therein lies the problem. "Oh, well, we can't expect women to be treated decently in the Arab world (and by extension in OUR world when Arabs are involved) because, well, let's face it, that's just how THEY are." Are you freaking kidding me? Since when has the leftist media been accepting of misogyny and sexual exploitation, abuse, and violence against women? Oh, right, I forgot, since we all decided it's okay for Arabs to behave badly, after all, (what?) they can't help themselves? Unreal.

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