We certainly don't want anything in our "nightly news" that would cause indigestion after our nightly dinner.
We've all rejoiced at the liberation of Egypt from the 30-year, iron-rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. We've delighted to see people celebrating and dancing in the streets of Cairo. We've listened to newscasters wax eloquent about democracy and freedom and "the will of the people" - including interviews with "the man on the street" who seem the very definition of the word "elation".
Apparently, some people's dream of freedom is another person's nightmare of brutality.
Here's the report from the LA Times on attack of CBS news correspondent, Lara Logan, in Cairo.
Dateline, February 15, 2011 Reporting from New York — CBS News correspondent Lara Logan is recovering in an American hospital this week after being sexually assaulted and beaten by a mob in Egypt's Tahrir Square late on Friday.She was "surrounded by a dangerous element" and "sexually assaulted".
The same day that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, Logan was surveying the mood of anti-Mubarak protesters for a "60 Minutes" story when she and her team "were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration," CBS said in a statement Tuesday. The network said that a group of 200 people were then "whipped into a frenzy," pulling Logan away from her crew and attacking her until a group of women and Egyptian soldiers intervened.
Here's another headline: "Lara Logan, CBS Reporter and Warzone 'It Girl,' Raped Repeatedly Amid Egypt Celebration."
Here's that report:
In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently in the hospital recovering."Sexual assault" vs. "raped repeatedly".
"Attack" vs. "brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating"
Very different picture, isn't it? One is much more vivid than the other.
Lara Logan, the "Warzone It Girl" is no stranger to sexual assaults of a verbal kind. The admittedly beautiful South African journalist is a former swimsuit model, and a married mother of two.
She has long attacked 'Hollywood-lite' reporters for their dumbing down of overseas violence - at the same time using her Hollywood good looks and spotlight to push a more hard-hitting agenda.
So, she's young. She's stunningly beautiful. She's smart and talented. She's a highly successful woman in a predominately male profession. She pulls no punches, playing hard ball with the big boys and calling them out for pulling journalistic punches with the hard hitting stuff of the news about war.
See? She's been asking for it. What did she expect? The 'Warzone It Girl' out there doing a man's job. In the midst of "a dangerous element".
I mean, the rapists had been "whipped into a frenzy" by the celebration. And, there she was - a beautiful blond woman. What were they supposed to do?
Okay, once more, from the top. This is a refresher of Rape 101.
Rape is not a sexual act. It is an act of violence where sex is used as a weapon.Nothing. Got it? Good. Let's move on to talk about why this story has not been more widely reported.
A woman never "looks for" or "is asking to be" raped.
Logan's rape - like any other rape - is not her fault. Every woman is shamed by but no woman is ever to blame for rape.
Nothing Logan did before or during the February 11 attack could have possibly invited or justified the heinous crime that was committed against her.
Nothing. Not what she wore or how she looked. Not how she talked or what she wrote. Not where she was or who she was or wasn't with.
Perhaps the "mainstream media" have not been reporting this rape because it's embarrassing. No one wants to talk about rape. Perhaps that's why so many thousands of rapes go unreported and so many hundreds of thousands of rape kits are warehoused in medical facilities without being processed.
It is estimated that there are 250,000 to 500,000 untested DNA kits in the US alone - some of them have been sitting on the shelf for twenty years. Without being processed, it is difficult to get a conviction once the woman gets up enough courage to actually file charges - IF she knows her rapist.
If you're paying attention, this means that for every rape kit that remains untested, there is a rapist walking around, free. Some, for twenty years. Or more.
It's not that we simply don't have the laboratory personnel to process the rape kits. It's that we don't think that the rape of a woman is enough of a priority to hire enough people to get the job done.
Perhaps we're embarrassed because a Pentagon report indicates that rape of women in the U.S. military increased 11% in 2009, according to a Department of Defense statistic, with one in three women reporting having been sexually violated while serving in the military.
Shockingly, the Pentagon itself admits that reported incidents probably represent just 20 percent of those that actually occur. Female recruits are now far more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed in combat.
Perhaps we're embarrassed because, just a few days ago, 17 women in the US military became plaintiffs in a class action suitagainst Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, alleging that their failure to act amounted to a violation of the plaintiffs’ Constitutional rights.
Perhaps we're embarrassed because we know that many women endure symbolic rapes every day. There are far more subtle but even more destructive insults than a cat call or a wolf whistle. Sexual overtures and sexual innuendo - in the home and at work - are used as tools to "keep the little woman in her place."
Lara Logan was brutally and repeatedly gang raped. In public. In Tahrir Square. In front of hundreds of people - who were being watched by millions of others around the world - having endured years of symbolic rape in the press by her peers.
Might it be that we are embarrassed because this brutal and repeated rape took place in a country that was in the midst of its first taste of freedom in over 30 years, and there - right there in public - in the midst of the cheering and the dancing and the singing and the celebration?
Ancient Egypt is considered the cradle of civilization in North Africa. Apparently, modern-day Egypt has yet to learn what Mahatma Gandhi once said about the test of a true civilization.
"A nation's greatness," he said, "is measured by how it treats its weakest members."
Or, at least, those it perceives to be "the weaker sex".
Lara Logan's rape ought to be held up, again and again - and reported over and over in all of its embarrassing detail - so we may be constantly reminded that, while Egypt has come very far in securing their freedom, they still have a long, long way to go until everyone in that country is free.
Logan's rape reminds us all - even those of us in this "civilized country" - that Gandhi also said, "No one is free when others are oppressed."
Lara Logan made her name in journalism by telling the stories inside the stories - not pulling any punches about the ravaging effects of war - in hopes to improve the reporting standards of her profession and bring about an end to war..
Let's hope that Logan's rape can tell the secret, shameful stories - and the stories behind and within the stories - of the violence done to women, so that the dream of real freedom and true peace may one day be realized by everyone.
That is the "will of the people" that will be a cause for celebration and elation and dancing in the streets.