Which Victims Matter

[Trigger warning for sexual violence, victim-blaming, rape apologia.]

I'm pleased to see so many people across the political blogosphere expressing both outrage and compassion about the sexual assault on Lara Logan, as well as condemning the heinous and contemptible statements of Nir Rosen and too many rightwing commentators to count.

The last time I can recall the political blogosphere rallying around a survivor so robustly was in 2007 when Halliburton/KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones was gang-raped by male coworkers in Baghdad and then held against her will by her employer, because her having been raped might make them look bad.

Logan and Jones are my sisters in a grim sorority. I do not want nor intend to minimize what happened to either of them, nor suggest that they were not deserving of every bit of righteous outrage and heartfelt compassion that was afforded them. I hurt for those two women.

But I hurt for the women in Iraq, in Saudi Arabia, in Brazil, in the Ivory Coast, in Japan, in Uganda, in South Africa, in Afghanistan, in India, in Mexico, in Guinea, in Kyrgyzstan, in Haiti, in DR Congo, in Sudan, in places all over the world, too.

I hurt for women who are not thin, blond, beautiful, white women raped on the job. I hurt for all of them. And for the men who survive sexual violence, too.

I beg my colleagues to pay more attention to them.

They all matter, too.

If we are to have any success in dismantling the rape culture, we cannot sustain a hierarchy of victims. We cannot rally around one victim because she is assaulted in a country on which the media is already focused, and ignore mass rape in a place the majority of the media diligently ignores. And we cannot justify inattention by saying the problem is too big.

The ubiquity of rape demands more of our time and effort, not less.

The rape culture depends on apathy. People at risk for sexual violence depend on vigilant concern. Which is it going to be...?

All in.

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