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Published: Wednesday, 5/4/2011

GUEST EDITORIAL

Ms. Logan's courage

Lara Logan was reporting among a jubilant crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Feb. 11 when events turned horrific.

"I feel them tearing at my clothing," the CBS foreign correspondent recalled this week in an interview with 60 Minutes.

"I think my shirt, my sweater was torn off completely.

"They literally just tore my pants to shreds. And then I felt my underwear go. And I remember looking up, when my clothes gave way, I remember looking up and seeing them taking pictures with their cell phones, the flashes of their cell phone cameras."

Ms. Logan was repeatedly sexually assaulted that night. She easily could have declined to discuss the episode, or decided to leave out painful or uncomfortable details. Instead, she showed extraordinary courage by publicly discussing the painful details of the attack.

Ms. Logan was pulled away from her camera crew, translator, and bodyguard that night by a throng of men who had just moments before been among the tens of thousands celebrating the impending downfall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. She was assaulted by dozens of men for some 25 minutes.

"I didn't even know they were beating me with flagpoles and sticks and things, because I couldn't even feel that," she said. "All I could feel was their hands raping me over and over and over again."

Ms. Logan came to the point where she decided to "surrender" to the sexual attacks. "What more can they do now?" she thought. "So the only thing to fight for, left to fight for, was my life."

She was spared when the throng ran up against a group of women who protected Ms. Logan until Egyptian soldiers were able to carry her to safety. She flew back to the United States the next day and spent four days in a hospital recovering from multiple injuries.

By confronting the truth, Ms. Logan shed light on the unique challenges faced by female journalists in countries where they are considered second-class citizens at best. More important, she serves as an example that women who are sexually assaulted need not be victimized a second time by falling prey to the stigma too often attached to such attacks.

-- Washington Post



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