CBS' Logan A Profile In Courage
After a joyous two weeks of watching -- what we're told -- was a mosaic of Egyptian society rise up and overthrow a dictator, the elation has turned to sickness and disgust today. Over time, the appreciation will surely return, but for now at least abhorrence sadly dominates.
Hearts sank and anger rose as CBS released a strikingly frank statement Tuesday that correspondent Lara Logan "suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating," while reporting from Cairo's Tahrir Square. Fortunately, she appears OK -- at least physically.
CBS said a "dangerous element" of more than 200, which had been "whipped into a frenzy," were the attackers. Remarkably, the assault took place on the very day the Cairo square was ebullient as President Hosni Mubarak resigned.
Even if leftover Mubarak-friendly thugs formed the vicious mob, where were the would-be freedom fighters to step in? Somehow in the middle of a celebration, 200 attackers were able to wall off Logan for, according to reports, up to 30 minutes.
The situation was so bad that it took 20 members of the Egyptian armed forces to rescue her. Along, with a group of women who used their newfound freedom rightly.
Over the years, Logan has reported from Iraq and Afghanistan war zones and has a certain fearlessness about her. She was actually expelled from Cairo earlier in the protest movement after terrible harassment, but chose to return.
Yet her willingness to allow CBS to announce she was not just the victim of violence in Egypt, but of sexual assault, takes perhaps commensurate courage.
The attack is not just unthinkably traumatic, but exceedingly personal. Sadly, sometimes blaming the victim emerges in these situations. (She apparently was not the victim of rape, where that can be a particular problem.)
Logan also has two young children and a husband - who is dealing with multiple emotions himself. Plus, she is the subject of considerable tabloid fascination sure to increase and curtail her privacy as she copes with the trauma.
Her coming forward emphasizes the risks women face as reporters in dangerous territory. That may raise appreciation of their work. It surely will lead to networks offering even more protection for them while in the trenches. Hopefully, it will not have executives limiting opportunities for them.
Further, Logan has laid down a challenge to what would be a modern Egypt: Rise up as a society to ensure women are fully respected and afforded the same treatment and opportunities as men.
Few would accuse Logan of maintaining a low profile or being publicity shy with some of her daring exploits. Some may quietly say her brand is sort of beauty and bravery.
Now she surely has a compelling interview on "60 Minutes" coming her way. Judging by her openness this week, she will use the platform impressively.