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CBS' Lara Logan speaks out about sexual assault in Egypt; How will media react?



lara-logan-assault.jpgOne of the oddest and most disappointing results from CBS correspondent Lara Logan's disclosure that she was sexually assaulted while covering the uprising in Egypt, was some journalists' responses.

One reporter joked about the incident on Twitter, causing him to lose a fellowship.

Others tried to parse the meaning of CBS News' terse statement disclosing that Logan had been the victim of a brutal attack, floating ill-informed theories about what may have happened to her and whether it was rape.

All those questions should be put to bed by Logan's just-released interviews on this subject -- one with the New York Times and one with her employer, CBS news magazine 60 Minutes -- in which the longtime foriegn correspondent speaks on being convinced she was going to die a slow, torturous death as up to 300 men groped and beat her.

“For an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands,” Logan told The New York Times. She estimated that the attack lasted for about 40 minutes. Later, she noted, “What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.”

She and CBS News management said that Logan's words were aimed at breaking the code of silence which often surrounds sexual assault incidents, particularly among women covering war and unrest across the globe. 



She Breaks the Code of Silence Often Kept by Sexually Assaulted Female Reporters

Lara Logan feared she would die a “torturous death” during a sexual assault and beating she suffered at the hands of a violent mob in Egypt’s Tahrir Square.   In her first television interview since her ordeal two months ago, the CBS News chief foreign correspondent and 60 MINUTES reporter reveals what happened to her for the first time in an interview conducted by Scott Pelley.  Logan’s story will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, May 1 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

On Feb. 11, Logan was on assignment for 60 MINUTES covering Egypt’s mass celebration of its revolution. With her in Tahrir Square in Cairo were her producer, Max McClellan and cameraman Richard Butler. There was also an interpreter and a former member of Britain’s elite military special services acting as a bodyguard. 

She reported without incident for nearly an hour before her interpreter heard words in the Arabic-speaking crowd that gave him pause.    He advised the team to leave, but before they could, a mob of several hundred men encircled Logan, who soon became separated from her team and bodyguard as the crowd swept her up.

Logan lost contact with her colleagues for approximately 25 minutes and endured a sexual assault and beating that she feared she would not survive.  “There was no doubt in my mind that I was in the process of dying,” she tells Pelley.  “I thought not only am I going to die, but it’s going to be just a torturous death that’s going to go on forever…”

Thoughts of her two young children helped reinforce her determination to survive the assault, she says, which finally ended when she was rescued by a group of Egyptian women and soldiers.  The soldiers drove her and her team back to their hotel, where she was examined by a doctor.  She returned to the U.S. the next day and went directly into a hospital, where she was treated for four days.

When Logan saw her children, “I felt like I had been given a second chance that I didn’t deserve…because I did that to them. I came so close to leaving them, to abandoning them,” she says.

Logan, who began her first full day back in her 60 MINUTES office yesterday (27), says she is healing.  “I am so much stronger [now].”  She hopes her story will give courage to other victims of sexual assault, especially female reporters who fear such admissions may impact their work.

In addition to Sunday’s television broadcast, Logan will also appear in an interview on 60 MINUTES’ webcast,

[Last modified: Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:00pm]


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