Last night, Lara Logan’s story about her rape at the hands of a mob in Egypt was aired for the first time on “60 Minutes.”
Logan’s account, which you can watch here, is remarkable for several reasons, but what stands out is that she doesn’t shy away from the graphic and explicit sexual details of her attack. She talks openly about feeling her breasts being groped, her bra ripped off and then her underwear being pulled off as well. In describing the nature of her attack, she says, “all I could feel was their hands, raping me over and over and over again…from the front, from the back.”
It’s shocking to hear, as well as to see her affect, which is for the most part calm and matter-of-fact as she explains what was done to her. The specifics she provides are what so many rape victims feel they can’t talk about, possibly because there’s an underlying sentiment that the details are somehow dirty or inappropriate, or perhaps because they’re worried that the particulars might be twisted and used against them.
But these are the details that need to be shared for the stigma of rape to begin to erode. Listening to Logan describe her ordeal is not salacious — on the contrary, it’s quite clearly the retelling of a horrific, violent crime, and for that reason, what she did was vitally important. We wouldn’t expect the media or a victim of any other kind of physical assault to leave out details of their attack out of shame; rape should be no different.