Demonstrators protest the regime of Hosni Mubarak in Tahrir Square, Cairo As more sickening details emerge in the Arab media—including mobile phone videos etc.
Such distinctions however, have nothing whatsoever to do with the reason why Logan was attacked and in fact obscures the real issue. The simple fact is that the gang of men who attacked Logan did so because they wanted to and could. Not only was she blonde and western Logan was born in South Africa but she was an independent, seasoned reporter at the top of her game in a country where females are still regarded as third-class citizens.
Once separated from her team some Arab sources claimed a burly bearded man pulled her away by her hair she was a lone woman in an ocean of men.
She had transgressed into the public space which in Egypt is the male space and had to be humiliated and subjugated for her temerity. The attack was motivated by something far more primal: A global scourge Logan—along with many millions of women, girls and little boys—was not a casualty of right versus left, pro- or anti —Mubarak forces but of male sexual impunity.
Muslim, non-Muslim, right wing or left, makes no difference. She was a victim of opportunity: It was a group of men who knew they could get away with it who abused Lara Logan—as occurs all over the world, in every single culture and among every socio-economic bracket with victims who are both very young, very old and every single age in between.
It is the elephant in the room that has nothing to do with how a woman is dressed are the thousands of babies raped every year in South Africa dress inappropriately? These are merely the rationale and not the reason. Men who rape do so because they can and are more likely to engage in acts of sexual violence when they know they will face no legal or moral censure. In countries as diverse as DR Congo, Egypt, Guatemala, Haiti and South Africa rape rates are astronomical because the status of women is so low that there exists virtually no legal redress when their bodies and rights are violated on a mass scale.
A Demographic Health Survey study undertaken in South Africa for example, showed that fully one quarter of all men surveyed admitted to taking part in gang rape. Haiti is another country that has always been bedevilled by high rates of sexual violence that, since the earthquake, have skyrocketed owing to the fact that so many millions of women and girls are now homeless and living in tent cities with no security and no redress. A survey undertaken in the US among young college educated men showed that fully 38 per cent of those polled said they would rape if they could get away with it.
Last spring in Vancouver Canada, a gang of young ravers drugged and raped a young woman and then splashed the images all over Facebook. The beast within In other words, what happens to women and girls in war zones and what happened to Logan also occurs everywhere in every country and in every neighborhood all over the world. The wholesale sexual abuse of women and girls however, is far more likely to occur when civil society breaks down and in societies characterized by lawlessness and gender discrimination.
The effect of youth bulges on domestic armed conflict which contends that higher rates of state and non-state armed violence and criminality correspond to higher proportions of young disenfranchised young men. Leading conflict researcher Valerie Hudson goes one step further and notes that high levels of gender inequality correspond to high birth rates, high degrees of sex selective abortion and thus higher percentages of disenfranchised young men which in turn lead to high levels of state and non-state bellicosity.
Indeed, violence against women is a better predictor of bellicosity than level of democracy, level of wealth, or presence of Islamic civilization. In a study, Valerie, along with Brad Thayer, also found high levels of gender inequality to be a strong aggravating factor in the development of Islamic suicide terrorism. So far as Egypt is concerned, the assault on Logan offers a sobering glimpse of what may lie ahead.
Not a single female voice will be lifted to voice concern over the fact that 98 per cent of all Egyptian women surveyed say they are the victims of ongoing and relentless sexual harassment and that those who seek redress are blamed for their own assault while perpetrators go free.
So what to do? Firstly, it is up to international partners to hold the nascent democracies of the Middle East and North Africa accountable for treaty obligations under the U.
Security Council Resolution on women, peace, and security. Egypt signed CEDAW with reservations however and that means that it has committed to passing whatever legislation is necessary to implement the wide-ranging principles of gender equality enshrined in that treaty. This includes taking measures to ensure that women enjoy the same basic human rights and fundamental freedoms as men, having in place legal and judicial procedures to protect the rights of women, taking measures to eliminate sexist discrimination, and lastly, submitting national reports every four years to a U.
Uniquely vulnerable After Egypt presented its periodic report to the CEDAW Committee in , the experts recommended that the government address inadequate family planning services, insufficient public information on maternal mortality and morbidity, and deficient adolescent sexual and reproductive health services. In particular, the Committee urged the Egyptian government to tackle the failure to protect women from sexual violence.
Although not yet in the grips of a civil conflict, Egypt is uniquely vulnerable to non-state armed violence as it transitions from autocracy to democracy owing to its high proportion of young people, high levels of gender inequality and poverty. Thus, Egyptian law makers would be wise to heed the provisions in and include women in all aspects of nation building including implementing those provisions relating to security and family law.
Thirdly, but most importantly, it is up to Egyptian men and women to ensure that the perpetrators of gender-based violence are prosecuted, tried and convicted and that new laws reflect the fact that one half of the population is female—that their needs and aspirations be codified not only in terms of political and judicial representation, but also in laws that enshrine their equal rights to security and non-discrimination. Men who rape do so because they can.
And such individuals—whether alone or in a mob—will continue to do so unless men who do not rape the majority support women in the fight against gender-based violence and the wholesale violation of their human rights.
This in turn will have a critical impact on peace and development because without security women will be unable to participate as full citizens in the nation building process, as legislators, workers and professionals of all stripes. And, as numerous studies attest, not only is gender equality a necessary precondition of peace and security, but it is the most important predictor of future prosperity.
And that message is this: Leave your homes at your own peril. Democracy is only for men.