Lara Logan Not Alone in Dealing With Harassment, Assault on the Job

[ 0 ] February 21, 2011 |

Our hearts went out to CBS correspondent Lara Logan when she was brave enough to tell the world that she had been assaulted while covering the revolution in Egypt. It was an ordeal no woman should have to endure, particularly when doing her job.

But now we’re learning that unfortunately, female correspondents are no stranger to sexual harassment and assault while working overseas. Kim Barker of ProPublica writes that she was subject to inappropriate grabbing and touching while working in Pakistan – and many other of her female colleagues suffered worse, in silence.

“I can’t ever remember sitting down with my female peers and talking about what had happened, except to make dark jokes, because such stories would make us seem different from the male correspondents, more vulnerable. I would never tell my bosses for fear that they might keep me at home the next time something major happened,” Barker writes.

She notes that The Committee to Protect Journalists doesn’t keep data on sexual assault and rape since many journalists don’t report it. But the answer is not to prevent women from doing such an important job, she says.

“Women can cover the fighting just as well as men, depending on their courage. …Without female correspondents in war zones, the experiences of women there may be only a rumor. …Female journalists often tell those stories in the most compelling ways, because abused women are sometimes more comfortable talking to them. And those stories are at least as important as accounts of battles.”

These tragic incidents, however, can take their toll. genConnect marriage and relationship expert Rachel Sussman says that one suffers not only from physical scars from such incidents, but emotional ones, as well, and that one should be on the lookout for signs for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), depression or anxiety as a result.

These signs can include:

  • Irritability or anger
  • Flashbacks
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much

“The symptoms can come and go. You can have a great few weeks but then be re-traumatized when you read a report about a rape or see a scene in a movie,” Sussman says. “There is, however, excellent help for  trauma survivors.”

These women are courageous in trying to bring the news of the world to us here at home. We owe them our awareness of their plight, compassion, our understanding, and should respect their desire to continue doing their job if they believe their work can make the world a better place.

For more article by Rachel Sussman and our experts, sign up for genConnect.com.

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For more on Egypt:

Internet Plays Historic Role in Uprisings in Libya, Bahrain

Facebook Used to Spur Protests in Iran, Yemen

Did Facebook Help Spur Egypt’s Revolt? (Video)

Egypt Revolution Highlights Power of Internet, Twitter

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Category: Views on the News

Rachel Sussman, LCSW

About Rachel Sussman, LCSW: RACHEL A. SUSSMAN, LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist and is the founder of Sussman Counseling, a psychotherapy practice specializing in treating couples and individuals with relationship dilemmas. Rachel is the author of the forthcoming book [...]
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