"This is a daily phenomenon for all women now"
February 22, 2011 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Egypt's women face growing sexual harassment. 'Some women in Egypt say they suffer catcalls, groping and other sexual harassment daily. For a time it seemed the Tahrir Square protests might point to progress, but the attack on TV reporter Lara Logan and others showed otherwise.' 'In 2008 the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights, a nongovernmental group that campaigns against such abuse group polled 2,020 Egyptians and 109 non-Egyptian women. The results: 83% of Egyptian women and 98% of foreign women surveyed said they had suffered sexual harassment. About half the women said they were harassed every day. The research showed that more than two-thirds of the women reporting abuse wore traditional Muslim head scarves or robes. Some even wore a flowing body-length black burka, with veil and gloves. Fewer than a third of the women wore Western attire.'

'Catcalls, fondling, indecent exposure and other forms of sexual harassment by strangers are an everyday occurrence for women on the streets of Cairo, according to human rights groups, social scientists, diplomats and interviews with Egyptians. Moreover, predatory packs have brutalized women at several public places, including a soccer stadium, in recent years, according to witnesses and local news accounts.'

'Theories abound to explain the violence. Unable to find decent jobs or affordable apartments, many men don't marry until their mid-30s, social scientists say. Premarital sex is taboo, so sexual frustration is said to run abnormally high.

At the same time, analysts say, prosecutions are rare. Many families pressure wives, daughters and sisters to keep quiet after being attacked rather than invite scandal. So-called honor killings, the slaying of women by male relatives for supposedly tarnishing the family's honor, ensure their silence. Such killings are common in Egypt, according to the National Center for Social and Criminological Research.'
posted by VikingSword (64 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have been hearing about this for years from an Egyptian friend.

Very sad stuff.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 5:27 PM on February 22, 2011


yeah. like this doesnt happen in the United States. i understand the need to find a reason for Logan's sexual attack. yet this isnt particularly endemic to Egypt. if not, there wouldn't be a need for Hollaback.
posted by liza at 5:30 PM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I spent 6 months in Egypt with my wife and can definitely concur (not that it really needs concurrence) that this is a major problem in the country. However I do think the article headline is misleading, as it makes one think that post-revolution sexual harassment is growing. I hope that one positive side effect of the revolution will be that women will be able to have their own revolution within Egyptian society. They are certainly educated and strong enough to do so, but it will take time.

I realize this is a sensitive area and perhaps the facts have not been reported, but this article says of the Lara Logan assault:
Logan's clothes were ripped off and her body was covered with welts and bruises, sources here said, before soldiers came to her rescue, firing live rounds in the air to disperse the attackers. She was evacuated to the U.S. and hospitalized for several days.

I assumed, as did most people I've spoken with, that she was gang-raped. Is that not the case? It may not be a relevant question, and doesn't change the issue, but I am unclear on what happened.
posted by cell divide at 5:31 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


liza I think the difference is that while you may get harassed on the subway on NYC or Tokyo once in awhile, in Egypt it can be the price you pay for walking down the street daily. At least the verbal side of things.
posted by cell divide at 5:32 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


no. CBS (and am assuming her lawyers) described it as sexual assault.
posted by liza at 5:34 PM on February 22, 2011


I assumed, as did most people I've spoken with, that she was gang-raped.

Every source I have seen only alleges sexual assault.
posted by jaduncan at 5:35 PM on February 22, 2011


I saw a source that said she was NOT raped. However, whatever happened was certainly bad enough.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:36 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


yeah. like this doesnt happen in the United States. i understand the need to find a reason for Logan's sexual attack. yet this isnt particularly endemic to Egypt. if not, there wouldn't be a need for Hollaback.

Sorry, but this is completely misguided. Of course women are harassed everywhere on this planet. But anyone can understand that there is a dramatic difference in degree and as such, some areas have incredibly higher rates of harassment. That's what statistics are about, including crime statistics. No area is free of crime, but that doesn't mean that f.ex. Somalia might not have special problems with crime. It's the same here.

Harassment anywhere is deplorable. The fact that it occurs in the U.S. - or anywhere else - does not lessen the gravity of these crimes in Egypt, where it happens at drastically higher rates.

Incidentally, for anyone who travels, this is easily seen. The rule of thumb seems to be, the further South you go, the greater the rates of harassment of women. Yes, there is harassment in Scandinavia, but by the time you get to Italy, it's drastically higher, and North African countries are higher yet. As a woman, walk around in Copenhagen, and walk around in Cairo, and report back.
posted by VikingSword at 5:39 PM on February 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


no cell divide. it is not just in Egypt. this demonization of a whole nation, particularly after a major pro-democracy movement is troubling.

Egypt, just as the United States, has serious patriarchal and misogynistic issues. sexual harrassment, sexual assault and rape arent more special to Egypt than it is to the United States. to use those statistics for some "aha, see, they're fucked up moment" when Americans have no moral superiority regarding misogyny is truly shameful.
posted by liza at 5:39 PM on February 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Cross-posted from one of the long Mubarak threads:

Why Lara Logan's Sexual Assault Is Demoralizing for Egyptian Women:
...Most cases of sexual assault in Egypt are not as gruesome as Logan's experience, they are instead much like what happens to Hussein—a near constant stream of verbal harassment and the odd groping. A 2008 study found 83 percent of Egyptian women said they had been sexually harassed, while 62 percent of men admitted to harassing women; 53 percent of men blamed women for "bringing it on" themselves. But there's one thing the numbers don't spell out: the psychological impact of frequent minor assaults—too trivial to report on their own—is debilitating.

But according to Hussein and from what I observed, Midan Tahrir during the 18-day Tahrir encampment was different. Logan's assault is even more demoralizing for Egyptian women because it comes at a time when they truly believe things are changing for the better.

Harassment was at an all-time low during the protests. Many told me at the time that was because the square felt like a "family," withstanding attacks, first from the police, and then from regime-sponsored thugs. It all started on Jan. 25, the first day Egyptians took to the streets demanding their rights. "On Tuesday, I went out on the streets really considerate of what I was going to wear, really considerate," Hussein remembers.

All day as demonstrators attempted to march into Tahrir, people were apologizing when they bumped into her, something Hussein marveled at because "It's only normal for people to bump into you at a demonstration." And these people didn't just apologize. "It was, 'I'm sorry, excuse me,' " Hussein explained. "I'm thinking: 'Excuse me'? Where was that yesterday? And the year before? And the year before?"

After hours of fighting riot police barricades, she finally made it off side streets and into Cairo's central square, which would become the epicenter of Egypt's protests. "At that point, for the first time people would come up and talk to me like a human being and not like a woman; it was great!" Hussein gushed.

Other women I spoke with inside Tahrir at the time remarked on the same thing. Many hope their role in the revolt that removed Mubarak's 30-year regime has changed attitudes toward their gender.... Unfortunately, I tell Hussein, as I walked to meet her, I got catcalled several times. She is shocked. Although Egyptian women hope the situation is improving, it remains to be seen if that change is universal.
posted by scody at 5:42 PM on February 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


this demonization of a whole nation, particularly after a major pro-democracy movement is troubling.

Where do you see demonizing? Be specific.

to use those statistics for some "aha, see, they're fucked up moment" when Americans have no moral superiority regarding misogyny is truly shameful.

That's not what the post or the links do, and if you'd stop grinding this irrelevant hurf durf Americans axe you'd pick up on that fact.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:44 PM on February 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


I can't speak to Egypt, but in my experience, sexual harrassment in the U.S., while certainly existent, is not nearly as bad as it is in some other countries - even Western European ones. I thought Paris was especially bad, and got the feeling that it was somehow not okay for me to be walking around alone there as a woman. Of course, it could just be that foreigners get harrassed more than natives.
posted by Jess the Mess at 5:47 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, sexual harrassment happens everywhere. But that doesn't mean it's all the same.

For another example, take Russia

From that article: "100 per cent of female professionals said they had been subjected to sexual harassment by their bosses"

That is clearly not the case in the US. Similarly "Only two women have won sexual harassment cases since the collapse of the Soviet Union, one in 1993 and the other in 1997."

Some countries are much worse about this than others. In the US, it's a problem, but one that has some recognition in law and society. Sexual harrassment cases are common here -- which you could regard as a problem, but is in fact a sign of progress relative to countries where women have no recourse.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:49 PM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Egypt, just as the United States, has serious patriarchal and misogynistic issues. sexual harrassment, sexual assault and rape arent more special to Egypt than it is to the United States. to use those statistics for some "aha, see, they're fucked up moment" when Americans have no moral superiority regarding misogyny is truly shameful.

Look, I agree that attempting to use the Logan assault as a "see, they're all fucked up," not-so-thinly veiled anti-Muslim is thing is, of course, bullshit -- not that it's even going on in this thread, but it certainly has been going on in the right-wing blogosphere (and even the mainstream press).

But at the same time, liza, you are totally kidding yourself and simultaneously not doing feminism any favors if you seriously want to argue that there's no substantial difference between what it's like to walk around as a single woman in public in the United States and what it's like to walk around as a single woman in many other parts of the world, including Egypt.
posted by scody at 5:49 PM on February 22, 2011 [33 favorites]


Here is a trailer for a recent Egyptian movie about sexual harrassment.

I have never felt more thankful about being a woman in the US than I did when I got back from Peru, where catcalling (and general overt sexism) was rampant. I have a hard time thinking of more than a few conversations I had which were not full of one sexual overtone or another. The situation in the US is frequently awful - but recognizing that the daily reality for a lot of women is frequently even more awful doesn't take away from the experiences of women here.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:04 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Having traveled to the Arab world with female companions, I assure you that the sexual harrassment there is qualitatively different than it is in the US. The fact that they just had a democracy movement is irrelevant.
posted by proj at 6:06 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course, it could just be that foreigners get harrassed more than natives.
So this is the problem. I think that visitors may be more likely to get harassed than local women. Sexual harassers thrive on anonymity. It would be really embarrassing to say something awful to a woman and then the next day have her introduced to you as your kid's teacher or your cousin's new wife or something. Tourists are risk-free harassment victims, because the chances are very low that they're part of your extended social circle. For that reason, I'm a little wary of making comparisons based on my experience as a tourist. I don't think the experiences of tourists necessarily tell you much about what things are like for local women. And I'm pretty conscious as a woman in the US that other women here may have different experiences of harassment than I have.
posted by craichead at 6:07 PM on February 22, 2011


^ On the contrary, I think it's a really common thing for "regular" women in the country. Here is an Al-Jazeera English segment about Egyptian women fighting against harassment back in 2007.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:09 PM on February 22, 2011


Of course, it could just be that foreigners get harrassed more than natives.

So this is the problem. I think that visitors may be more likely to get harassed than local women.


Not quite. It is a cultural issue. Yes, foreigners may get harassed more, but in some cultures, the native women get harassed at extremely high levels as well. That was the point of these statistics - from the FPP:

"'In 2008 the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights, a nongovernmental group that campaigns against such abuse group polled 2,020 Egyptians and 109 non-Egyptian women. The results: 83% of Egyptian women and 98% of foreign women surveyed said they had suffered sexual harassment."

So the difference is 15%, but extremely high in either case - 98% vs 83%.

Re: Paris - I lived in Paris for two years, though that was back in the mid-80's. I have since visited many times. I have close friends, French women and also American women who live permanently in France. I assure you, the rates of sexual harassment for either group is much higher in Paris, than, f.ex., in Copenhagen. And it is definitely cultural - f.ex. recent immigrants from certain areas are more prone to behavior - including sexual harassment of women - that's common in their culture, and they express that in the country they immigrate to. Paris is a particularly prominent example, as I compare the situation in say, 1985 vs more recently.
posted by VikingSword at 6:16 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


So the difference is 15%, but extremely high in either case - 98% vs 83%.
First of all, that's a little bit comparing apples to oranges, assuming that the question was whether the women had ever experienced sexual harassment in Egypt. Presumably, Egyptian women have generally lived in Egypt for longer than foreign women. An Egyptian woman who has lived in Egypt for her whole life has had a lot more time to be harassed than a foreign woman who moved there six months ago.

But also, I'm a little surprised that you think the 83% number is "extremely high." I'm sort of surprised, to be honest, that 17% of women say they've never been sexually harassed.
posted by craichead at 6:29 PM on February 22, 2011


^
If you look closer at the statistics, "about half the women said they were harassed every day", so the issue of how long you are present in a given place matters less - for half the women it happens to every single day, so it's irrelevant if you're there for a week or 20 years.

And yes, that's extremely high. Do you think 50% of the women in the U.S. or Canada, or Denmark, or some other countries are sexually harassed every single day?
posted by VikingSword at 6:34 PM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think the gist of what liza is pointing out is that any nation that's a part of the ISAF is currently paying tax dollars so security forces in Afghanistan can rape children, where the old saying is, "Women are for children, boys are for pleasure." So any amount of pontificating by westerners about sexual assault in Egypt is a completely empty gesture if they're not also calling their representative every day and demanding that their government stop funding child rape.

I'd bet without looking that gender education equality directly correlates to gender equality, so maybe you could donate to charities that educate young women in Egypt if it's something you really care about.

Personally, I think an Egyptian knows far more about how to solve their own issues than I do.
posted by notion at 6:35 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]




The plural of anecdote is not data.
posted by mek at 6:51 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the gist of what liza is pointing out is that any nation that's a part of the ISAF is currently paying tax dollars....

That's the most generous interpretation I've come across in a long while.
posted by ripley_ at 6:58 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am taking a stab at this. In the Arab world today, the average age is 30. In Egypt it is even younger. Now take all those young males, and massive unemployment--the streets becomne a frat party. Then there is the secondary, subservient role that women play in just about all religions, and in the Muslim region, a rather long tradition of excusing the man and condemning the woman for what are considered offenses. Then there is the law, which seems fairly indifferent. In the US, you go to court and sue and you are likely to get justice of some sort.

I had believed that for many years the hands-off attitude toward women helped explain the homosexual liaisons, condemned but nonetheless prevalent. But with the loosening of religious strictures in some Arab nations, boys seem now to revert to women.

Italy and Greece are of course known for this sort of thing, and as pointed out, perhaps the heat of the south accounts for it...

I know nothing really of Israel, but there women of course serve in the military and there seems a lot of sex and play without a long prelude or need to be super romantic. In Egypt, there is required military service but only for men. Israel is in the "heat" belt, perhaps there are sufficient jobs and outlets without the need for jumping all over every woman one sees.
posted by Postroad at 7:00 PM on February 22, 2011


to use those statistics for some "aha, see, they're fucked up moment" when Americans have no moral superiority regarding misogyny is truly shameful.

The troll is strong with this one.
posted by phaedon at 7:01 PM on February 22, 2011


and as pointed out, perhaps the heat of the south accounts for it...

wut.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:03 PM on February 22, 2011


Personally, I think an Egyptian knows far more about how to solve their own issues than I do.

I wouldn't assume that most think it's an issue yet.
posted by Brian B. at 7:04 PM on February 22, 2011


and as pointed out, perhaps the heat of the south accounts for it

Who ever pointed that out? Obviously it's a cultural, not a climate issue.
posted by VikingSword at 7:05 PM on February 22, 2011


and as pointed out, perhaps the heat of the south accounts for it

*orders popcorn from Amazon*
posted by phaedon at 7:09 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Catcalls, fondling, indecent exposure and other forms of sexual harassment by strangers are an everyday occurrence for women on the streets of Cairo

If all these things constitute sexual harassment, then the statistics on how many women suffer sexual harassment need further breakdown. As a woman in Toronto, I get men saying things to me on the street nearly every single day, but only once or twice has a man dared to actually touch or fondle me and I've never been subjected to indecent exposure.

And I have no doubt that women are generally subjected to worse treatment in Egypt. I've yet to hear of honour killings happening in Canada, while in Egypt they are common.
posted by orange swan at 7:11 PM on February 22, 2011


The problem is, women get harrassed, no matter where they are. That is the problem.
posted by wv kay in ga at 7:15 PM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Do you think 50% of the women in the U.S. or Canada, or Denmark, or some other countries are sexually harassed every single day?
I think it might depend on what you counted as sexual harassment. For instance, they report that 62% of men say they've perpetrated harassment, but by far the most common form of harassment that they confess to is "ogling women's bodies." 49.8% of men said that they ogled women's bodies, compared with 27.7% who said that they whistled or shouted comments, the next-most-commonly-confessed-to form of harassment. Maybe it's just because of a certain blog I'm familiar with but, I'm disinclined to think there's any shortage of ogling of women in Denmark.

I dunno. I was harassed a lot in the US as a teenager. I get less of it as an adult for whatever reason, but there was a time in my life when it absolutely was a daily thing. So I'm inclined to support anti-harassment efforts in Egypt in a spirit of solidarity, rather than a spirit of superiority.
posted by craichead at 7:20 PM on February 22, 2011


Obviously it's a cultural, not a climate issue.

True, but traditional agrarian cultures in fertile zones often have an ancient class structure, and therefore take their time sorting out the difference in owning women and, say, cattle.
posted by Brian B. at 7:20 PM on February 22, 2011


I'm sorry this is just lazy, lazy, tabloid journalism.
posted by mek at 7:31 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there some way we can blame this on the wealthy in America, or maybe corporations? Because that's much more In these days at Metafilter. In fact, sexual oppression as a topic is SO passe, darlings.
posted by happyroach at 8:11 PM on February 22, 2011


happyroach: there's no incentive for corporations or the wealthy people who own them to jeopardize their business interests by bringing up gender equality in Arab nations that help us get cheap oil. However, it looks like Arab democracies are open to criticism that Saudi Arabia can safely avoid. Strange how that works.

Are you happier now?
posted by notion at 8:29 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've never been groped, cat called or had men start masturbating in my presence like in Egypt. It differs from other Arab countries I've been to.

I was there for a week and had these happen to me more than once. The cat calling was nonstop.

Yes I was fully covered.
posted by k8t at 8:39 PM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


And I have no doubt that women are generally subjected to worse treatment in Egypt. I've yet to hear of honour killings happening in Canada, while in Egypt they are common.
posted by orange swan at 7:11 PM on February 22 [+] [!]


Unfortunately there have been some murder convictions in Canada that have been tied to honour killings, and there is speculation about it being a factor in others.

It is suspected motive for the bodies in the canal. (I think the trials may be coming up this year).

It seemed to play a part in the death of teenager at the hands of her father and brother.

The father who admitted that he ran down and seriously injured his daughter and her boyfriend because of the boyfriend’s “lower caste” didn’t use the phrase, but the crown attorney on the case did.

The Ottawa brother who killed his sister and her fiance apparently did so for the sake of family honour.

Now I’m not saying that these have become an epidemic in Canada. I'm not even saying that there is a simple and easy way to distinguish these types of crimes from other types of serious (or fatal) domestic incidents.

I’m just pointing out that the concept of honour killings (rightly or mistakenly ascribed to actual incidents) is one that people in Canada are hearing about. Even our politicians have been talking about it.
posted by sardonyx at 8:43 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reports like this sometimes make me worry about this sort of thing really happening.
posted by daisystomper at 8:58 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are you happier now?

I think happyroach was being ironic there.
posted by Brian B. at 8:58 PM on February 22, 2011


Now I’m not saying that these have become an epidemic in Canada.

Yeah it would be somewhat irresponsible to take a couple of individual events and claim a new epidemic was beginning, and then publish that in the LA Times.
posted by mek at 9:03 PM on February 22, 2011


sardonyx,

Small issue here: I absolutely agree with you that honour killings have occurred in Canada and that was a 99% good comment, but supporting the case by citing a Conservative politician on a tough-on-crime-and-scary-foreigners bender does not help the point
posted by Hoopo at 9:19 PM on February 22, 2011



Small issue here: I absolutely agree with you that honour killings have occurred in Canada and that was a 99% good comment, but supporting the case by citing a Conservative politician on a tough-on-crime-and-scary-foreigners bender does not help the point
posted by Hoopo at 9:19 PM on February 22


My intention wasn't to cite any politician as an authority on the topic.

The point I was trying to make was that the topic of honour killings had been hot enough and had generated enough interest in both the general public and in the media, that the concept (if not the reality) garnered attention from politicians at the highest level of government.

It's just another tiny data point that indicates that the idea of honour killings has become familiar enough to Canadians to enter into the national consciousness and the national debate (even if it had to be dragged in by a government looking for any excuse to get "tough on crime).

In light of the earlier post which mentioned unfamiliarity with any honour killings in Canada, I felt that it was worthwhile for me to post not only about some of the cases that seem tied to the concept, but also some of the reactions precipitated by those events, especially as I can't presume that the international membership who reads this site is familiar with Canadian domestic news.
posted by sardonyx at 10:27 PM on February 22, 2011


Agreed sardonyx; as a Vancouverite, they are very much in the public consciousness these days.
posted by mek at 10:30 PM on February 22, 2011


The worst catcalling I've experienced was in Italy and Spain. The really disturbing thing to me is that I was 14 when I was in Italy (and it was my first experience with catcalling) and 16 when I was in Spain. It just seems like men in their 40s should have some, I don't know, respect for girls young enough to be their daughters. I also shudder to think what it's like to grow up as a young girl in some of these places and what it does to your self-image.

Anyway, certainly the magnitude of the problem varies by region and culture, but also certainly there isn't anywhere on the planet women don't have to put up with similar offenses.
posted by threeturtles at 11:38 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't like this story about Egypt. I'm sure that it's true, and I believe that women shouldn't be subjected to harassment, but I don't like the timing.

An important theme in the current narrative re Afghanistan is that we're there to protect the wimmenfolk. Nobody wants to write much about the status of women in Saudi Arabia.
posted by fredludd at 11:40 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


The plural of anecdote is not data.

Perhaps not, but it's enough to form a testable hypothesis.

I don't like this story about Egypt. I'm sure that it's true, and I believe that women shouldn't be subjected to harassment, but I don't like the timing.

The timing derives from the fact that an American reporter was just sexually assaulted by a 200 strong mob.

Are you suggesting that the attack on Lara Logan didn't happen? Or that it's somehow improper to use that incident to highlight what appears to be a much higher incidence of sexual harrassment and assaults in Egypt?

If the latter, are you suggesting that people should just keep quiet about it?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:16 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are you suggesting that the attack on Lara Logan didn't happen?
Of course it happened. But it received a lot more attention than all the other stories about sexual assault that also occurred at the same time. For instance, it received vastly more attention than the class action lawsuit that female service members filed against the US military last Tuesday, alleging a military culture that protects rapists and punishes their victims. It's not exactly a secret that there's a huge amount of sexual assault within the US military and that there's very little recourse for service members who are assaulted, but it doesn't get nearly the same play as what happened to Lara Logan. There are a lot of reasons for that, but one of them is that the Lara Logan story is politically convenient for a lot of people who are only interested in sexual assault when it serves their larger agenda.
posted by craichead at 5:08 AM on February 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


Israel is in the "heat" belt, perhaps there are sufficient jobs and outlets without the need for jumping all over every woman one sees.

Hollaback Israel (one can get the gist of the posts by running it through an automatic translate; I use Google Chrome's) gets a high volume of stories.
posted by brujita at 6:36 AM on February 23, 2011


There are a lot of reasons for that, but one of them is that the Lara Logan story is politically convenient for a lot of people who are only interested in sexual assault when it serves their larger agenda.

More like politically inconvenient when it doesn't serve their larger agenda. One story about sexual harassment serves another, until it gets in the way of pumping up some good news for its maximum effect, which would sacrifice this timely issue for them. Comparing it to coverage in free world journalism elsewhere, as an excuse to avoid it some more, is special pleading in the name of censorship, and should qualify as an aggravated crime against humanity from sheltered know-betters. Denial is arguably worse than blaming the victims. So what deniers here might do is to lecture us on why Egypt should be spared the growing pains into the first world. Or does that idea bother them?
posted by Brian B. at 7:17 AM on February 23, 2011


i understand the need to find a reason for Logan's sexual attack

According to a Wall Street Journal source, Logan, 39, who is mother to two young children, was not raped.

The separation and assault lasted for roughly 20 to 30 minutes, said a person familiar with the matter, who added that it was "not a rape."

The 1st step in understanding - what actually happened.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:15 AM on February 23, 2011


Brian B., that's bullshit. Lara Logan makes news because she's famous. There are thousands of gang rapes every day across the third world, and I'll bring up the child rape in Afghanistan again because it gets zero coverage in the United States.

A couple years ago ten or more people watched a 15 year old girl gang raped and beaten at her homecoming dance. Is anyone talking about the "growing pains" of American civilization?

Reporting the news is one thing. Inserting moral superiority where none exists is another.
posted by notion at 8:21 AM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Of course, it could just be that foreigners get harrassed more than natives.

So this is the problem. I think that visitors may be more likely to get harassed than local women."

...WTH?

As a woman from Peru...no. You have absolutely no basis for that statement.

I come from a privileged background (which means even my experience is not representative) and I've been grabbed a million times, chased by a gang of men yelling nasty stuff at me, and thank god I could run quickly, I've been howled at at least 4 times a week since I was 8, whistled at, not even counting the times I've been rudely stared at, at 6 (yes, at 6) I had a guy rubbing himself against me when I was shopping for candy at a children's shop. I had no idea what he had been doing until I was way older. At 12 I was walking home from school and had a horrible, huge old guy grab me and whispering that he was going to tear my *** apart. I must say, too, I'm not even particularly hot or anything.

I really don't want to make it sound like you don't have it hard in the US. But jeez. The less developed a country is, the less people think of their women. Women in Peru have two roles: wanking utensils or maids. That's it. This is not a muslim country, nor is it Africa. All of my middle class friends have been treated like that, and with lower socio economic strata it gets only worse. Yes, you hear about the foreigners that get attacked, but that's because locals being raped or brutally murdered in "crimes of passion" as they call them, are so common and so many that it's not even news.
posted by Tarumba at 8:28 AM on February 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


Also, as a data point. I've been living in the US for 3 years now, and nothing even close to those things have happened to me, ever.
posted by Tarumba at 8:31 AM on February 23, 2011


Premarital sex is taboo, so sexual frustration is said to run abnormally high.

I wonder how many of the world's problems can be traced back to this simple issue.
posted by quin at 8:52 AM on February 23, 2011


You have absolutely no basis for that statement.
I actually do have some basis for my statement. I dealt with constant sexual harassment in India, and my Indian friends tell me that, while street harassment is certainly a problem for Indian women, they don't get nearly as much harassment as foreign women do. I've heard the same thing from women from Southern Europe. This may contradict your experience in Peru, but it doesn't mean I have absolutely no basis for my statement.

I'm really sorry to hear that you went through all that, though. I've got plenty of similar stories of my own. And I actually don't think that being "hot" matters. I think that a lot of harassers get off on making women and girls feel ashamed and uncomfortable, and whether you're hot or not has pretty much nothing to do with it.
posted by craichead at 8:55 AM on February 23, 2011


From what I've heard about other countries, (Morocco, Egypt, India, ex-Yugoslavia and most of South AMerica) Local women are used to it (it isn't such a big deal) and are not protected by any institutions (as an American one can go to the embassy, or even policemen will take her more seriously for being a foreigner).

Moresover, women from developed countries are more empowered, especially the ones that take interest in travelling, they speak out and they publicly dissaprove of things. this is not the case for an uneducated shepherd girl in rural Peru who grew up believeing being objectified is the norm.

As a rule, these kinds of men will consider local women as their property. Foreign women are still women (that is, second class citizens), but not really theirs. Some will "dare" to touch, attack and do terrible things, but most of these men won't even have to dare to do the same things to locals, because there isn't a risk.

I was too indignant when I said you have no basis. I believe it is equally terrible whether it happens to a Finnish woman or a Rwandan one. Simply considering you have "lecherous" men willing to mistreat women, and way more local women available than foreginers, I think it's safe to say things will most likely happen to local women.

I was not trying to antagonize you, I was too harsh!
posted by Tarumba at 9:11 AM on February 23, 2011


Decent NPR (ATC) piece from the other thread. Some interviews with Egyptian women.
posted by rosswald at 3:31 PM on February 23, 2011


Brian B., that's bullshit. Lara Logan makes news because she's famous. There are thousands of gang rapes every day across the third world, and I'll bring up the child rape in Afghanistan again because it gets zero coverage in the United States.

I never mentioned Lara Logan, but since you did, apparently the media were caught off guard in that incident, then apparently did some digging, and exposed their previous ignorance. You seem to have a problem with it because it is inconvenient or smells like a conspiracy during a revolution. That conspiracy would be a great story without the mind-reading and two-wrongs fallacy, but the irony would be that Logan was covering the revolution.

A couple years ago ten or more people watched a 15 year old girl gang raped and beaten at her homecoming dance. Is anyone talking about the "growing pains" of American civilization?

It made headlines everywhere. So what exactly are you complaining about? Nobody denied it happened it seems, and it doesn't equate two different cultures at two different stages of gender and social development, as you would have it.

Reporting the news is one thing. Inserting moral superiority where none exists is another.

Excusing misbehavior when the news and data tell a different story is straight denial. Demanding a political context to news so that people digest it according to their worldview is the fair and balanced fallacy. Editorializing is fair game as always.
posted by Brian B. at 5:57 PM on February 23, 2011


"True, but traditional agrarian cultures in fertile zones often have an ancient class structure, and therefore take their time sorting out the difference in owning women and, say, cattle."

You mean like Holland? Ohio?
posted by Blasdelb at 12:55 PM on March 7, 2011


You mean like Holland? Ohio?

See the word "ancient" in the post.
posted by Brian B. at 4:15 PM on March 7, 2011




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