Those who follow current events will know that NBC reporter Lara Logan suffered an attack in Tahrir Square that she herself identified as a gang-rape. Subsequent reactions in the U.S. media questioned the nature of the attack; questioned the way it should be characterized; and blamed it at least as much, if not more, on the victim as on the mob of men who attacked her.
Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote an article for Salon about all this, sort of focused on Logan’s upcoming interview on 60 Minutes. It’s worth reading, for many reasons. I don’t think it’s very well written, mind you, and a number of the comments are downright infuriating. But that’s OK. Masks are pulled aside; prevailing attitudes and prejudices are revealed.
Here’s a comment I contributed:
For the record, I agree with those who think this article seems to have been hastily written and poorly edited. But so what? We should focus on the content.
In respect to content, everyone knows that language matters in the law: diction, syntax, punctuation, and whatever. Bush was elected in 2000 in part because of the way language in the Florida constitution was interpreted.
In this case, what’s the legal difference between “sexual assault” and “rape”? Regardless, how can that legal difference in either Egypt or the U.S. possibly matter in this context? No one will be tried in any court.
Apart from the legal definitions, how do the connotations differ for persons like those reading and commenting on this article? I’ve read all the previous comments, and I’d say connotations and impressions differ considerably. And yet the terms are used interchangeably in public discourse.
Granting for the sake of argument that “assault” and “rape” differ in kind, how do they differ in the pain and suffering endured both during and after … perhaps forever after … by the victim?
The better I’ve gotten to know the Lara Logan of TV appearances, the less I’ve respected her. But so fedorking what?! This has nothing to do with my personal feelings. Ms. Logan’s a human being; she’s a wife and mother; and she has survived a horrible ordeal.