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Susan Estrich
10 Feb 2016
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Endangered Women


Endangered Women

Yes, Lara Logan was sexually assaulted and badly beaten. Yes, that is a terrible thing. She is, however, reported to be in "remarkably good spirits." Indeed. She is alive, not beheaded, not held hostage, not any number of terrible things. Being raped is bad, but it isn't the worst thing. Not getting out alive is the worst thing.

In the 30 years since I first dared raise the issue as a young Senate staffer, I cannot begin to count the number of times that people have tried to explain to me that women cannot be on the front lines because this country could not tolerate the prospect of our women being sexually assaulted by the other side. "You gotta be kidding," I was told by some otherwise very liberal people. Look at the polls. The selective service legislation doesn't even require women to register. The man who sued to try to get it overturned on that basis lost; discrimination justified. No Lara Logans.

But I never got it. I know how bad rape is. But what I don't know is why the possibility, and sometimes the reality, that a woman could be raped should count for more than the fact that she is willing, able and oftentimes eager to face danger. I don't know why getting killed isn't the real thing everybody has to face. And I then wonder whether it is something more than women being vulnerable to rape that creates a double standard in law and in fact.

Being CBS' chief foreign correspondent, in this world, is a dangerous job. Logan has two small children. When I had two small children, I was nervous about flying. Heck, I was nervous about going any farther than the San Fernando Valley. I'm not sure how many other young mothers would want Logan's career, for all its glory, or would want to be on the front lines of combat, or would want to conquer space or mountains.

But more power to those who do. The last thing anyone should do is judge their choices in light of the ones we make.

Everybody is trying to be careful given that talking, much less joking, about sexual assault can get you in trouble. (I think people should get in trouble for committing sexual assault, not for talking about it. Sadly, the opposite is more often the case.) Even so, does anyone doubt that gender counts when it comes to how we view risk taking and risk takers?

Imagine if the genders were reversed, and she was the astronaut (and mother of two) and he was the handsome congressman lying in a rehab hospital trying to learn to talk and move after being gunned down. Would America applaud her decision to return to her training in preparation for space flight in April? You think Cairo is dangerous. Space is really dangerous. I'm not saying he's wrong — only that women should be respected when they make that same choice.

I don't know whether or not Logan will go back to war zones. That's a very personal choice that doesn't just involve one person, not at this point. She's still a hero for doing it in the first place, and she's an example to others, not only of a woman's strength, but also of her survival.

The fact that Logan is doing so "remarkably" well should not be taken to mean that you recover from rape in two days. (You don't. You just, if you're lucky, go home from the hospital.) But it might help those who still are held back by the horrible prospect that our young women might be raped if allowed to fight wars or cover them. Hopefully, they'll realize that, as awful as that risk is, young women are facing it and worse every day — and not just in Cairo. We should salute their courage in doing so.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



8 Comments | Post Comment
Odd, I thought it was the "peaceful masses" protesting for change and that it was the evil military and police who were the problem. It was some women and soldiers who rescued her.

A mob demanding the overthrow of leadership is not a democratic movement. Every popular majority cannot be allowed to impose discrimination on the minority.

Democrats don't want negotiations when they are in the majority, but when they are elected into the minority, they whine, incite anarchy, and in the case of elected officials in Wisconsin, they evade their duty and flee the state.
Comment: #1
Posted by: pb1222
Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:15 AM
Maybe the idea that their women could be raped distracts and demoralizes the men. If it was known that the enemy was raping our women upon capture would the Geneva conventions really stop the vengance?
Keeping women out of battle probably keeps war more civilized.
Comment: #2
Posted by: scott365
Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:24 PM
I was in the Army. I was more worried about being raped by one of my fellow soldiers than I was about being raped by the enemy. I was warned of this by many people before I wnlisted. Turns out I had reason to be. I not only survived it, but I went on to spend another 9 years in the Army and three years in Iraq. I did not let what happend to me keep me from being the best soldier I could. I did not let it prevent me from feeling pride every time I put on the uniform. I did not let it prevent me from loving my job and my military service.
As for the risk of injury or death? I was an EOD Tech, meaning I was on the Army's bomb squad. I did not have to be in combat to risk injury or death. I simply had to do my job.
I was willing to risk injury, death and, yes, even rape to follow my calling and do my duty for my country.
I will not define my life around being a rape victim. I am so much more than that.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Michelle Keane
Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:10 PM
What's amazing to me is that my liberal friends are still defending the Mid-East. It is a sewer and her rape only proves it.
Comment: #4
Posted by: David Kidd
Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:54 PM
I learned how to treat women from Bill Clinton(D).
Comment: #5
Posted by: Otis
Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:16 AM
Seems that Islam really is a religeon of piece.
Comment: #6
Posted by: joseph wright
Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:43 PM
Re: David Kidd

I tend to agree but perhaps it is not fair to blame an entire people based on the actions of a few turds. I know I do not wish to ever be grouped with "Liberals" in this country.

In the Liberal meca of Vermont, Mark Hulett, 34, confessed to repeatedly raping a 7-yearl old girl for more than 4 years. What does the liberal court (although note the judge was a republican) give this animal . . . . 60 days in jail.

Thus, if the rape of a 7 year old for 4 YEARS gets one 60 days in Vermont, had Lara Logan been gang raped in Vermont instead of Cairo, the gang members would likely get nothing more than the equivalent of a speeding ticket.

Also, remember, “Liberals” in our country have caused the death of over 50 million babies since Row v Wade via their polices on abortion . . . . 50 million babies !!! Can there be a greater evil ?

Make no mistake, the “Liberals” we have in this the good old USA are no better than the goons that raped Lara Logan and I would hate for others to judge all Americans based on the actions and beliefs of America's "Liberals."

Comment: #7
Posted by: SusansMirror
Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:25 PM
I do believe that the attempt by liberals to make women the complete equal to men has made some women sexual agressive which has a profound effect on all women.
This from a 74 year old who had and still has great respect for women but has seen decline in respect throughout society.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Early
Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:23 AM
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