While the reaction was entirely predictable, it should be resisted. Not to cover up or deny that sexual violence is a very real problem in Egypt, which is notorious for its high levels of street harassment, but because it’s wrong to blame Egypt for this and pretend that it isn’t a worldwide phenomenon that crosses cultural and religious boundaries. If street harassment and sexual assault in a culture precludes the people having a right to self-government, then there is no nation on the planet that can be a democracy. In her otherwise good response to this tragedy, the Washington Post’s Alexandra Petri does regrettably also give the “us v them” narrative some juice, arguing that in the United States, unlike Egypt, women can walk the streets “unmolested”. But the very website she uses correctly to identify the problem of street harassment in Egypt also has studies that show up to 100% of American women suffer street harassment, as well. It’s not uncommon in the US for groups of men to take jubilatory occasions and crowds as permission to sexually assault and rape women, either. Such attacks occur at college parties, high school dances and rock concerts, usually with a crowd of onlookers who don’t intervene, as happened with Logan until the army and a group of women saved her. The response from some quarters in the US should quell any notion that we’ve somehow grown past our issues with sexual violence that still plague Egypt.
Excellent article by Amanda Marcotte on the sexual assault on CBS reporter Lara Logan, the (US) reaction to the assault and rape culture in general.