February 21 2011

The Real War on Women

Carrie L. Lukas

The brutal assault of CBS news reporter Lara Logan in Egypt was shocking and even unimaginable to most Westerners. But the sad truth is that no one familiar with the horrible conditions that women live under in too much of the Middle East should be surprised.

As Jeff Jacoby writes on Townhall.com today, this kind of violence is commonplace in Egypt:

"Young, old, foreign, Egyptian, poor, middle class, or wealthy, it doesn't matter," [CNN's Mary Rogers, a veteran producer and camerawoman who has lived in Egypt] wrote. "Dressed in hijab, niqab, orwestern wear, it doesn't matter. If you are a woman living in Cairo,chances are you have been sexually harassed. It happens on the streets,on crowded buses, in the workplace, in schools, and even in a doctor's office." Rogers discovered the ugly reality soon after her arrival in the country, when, as she was walking home from work, a stranger"reached out, and casually grabbed my breast." After repeatedly enduring such obnoxious harassment, Rogers stopped walking to and from her office.

In a swath of the globe notorious for mistreating women, Egypt is particularly infamous. According to a survey conducted in 2008 by the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights, 83 percent of native Egyptian women and 98 percent of women visiting from abroad have experienced some form of public sexual harassment. More than half the Egyptian women reported being molested every day. And contrary to popular belief, most of the victims of this "social cancer," as the Center called it, were wearing modest Islamic dress.

Network executives are reportedly considering whether to pull female personnel from Egypt.  That's a sad, but very sensible, path to consider.

This should be a big part of the story of what's going on in Egypt. There should be more than calls for democracy, but for change that will inculcate a greater respect for human-and that includes women's-rights.

Meanwhile, I received an email from MoveOn.org that lead with this:

It might seem hyperbolic to say that Republicans have declared a war on women.

Sadly, it's not.

Yes, the Republican war on women consists of cutting ineffective, wasteful government programs... Wouldn't it be nice if such groups spent a little time on the real war against women around the globe?

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