On February 11, 2011 CBS reporter Lara Logan (above) was beaten and sexually assaulted while covering the celebrations in Egypt’s Tahrir Square following Hosni Mubarak's resignation. Just months after Logan was assaulted, Dan Rottenberg, editor of the online arts magazine Broad Street Review, released an attack of words through an editor’s note titled, “Male sex abuse and female naiveté”. The photograph accompanying the article is of Lara Logan on the red carpet, wearing a v-line neck dress and smiling for the cameras, with the words “What message was the TV journalist Lara Logan sending here?” underneath it.
In short, Dan Rottenberg is implying that Lara Logan and other victims of sexual assault are to be blamed for prompting men to rape and for ‘tempting’ their attackers.
Here are a few of the many preposterous statements made in this “Editors’ Notebook”:
â€¨"Earth to liberated women: when you display legs, thighs, or cleavage, some liberated men will see it as a sign you feel good about yourself and your sexuality. But most men will see it as a sign you want to get laid. Forewarned is forearmed."
"Don’t trust your male friends. Don’t go to a man’s home at night unless you’re prepared to have sex with him. Don’t disrobe in front of a male masseur. If you take a job as a masseuse, don’t be shocked if your male customers think you’re a prostitute. And if you want to be taken seriously as a journalist, don’t pose for pictures that emphasize your cleavage."
The latter quote is under a section titled “What should women do?” In another section, Rottenberg compares two female ex-neighbors, and goes on to say that one of them “spent 18 years on our block without any problem.” The other woman “was the victim of four burglaries, one attempted rape and one molestation of her young daughter, all within a year of her arrival.”
Here is Rottenberg’s reasoning behind why the second woman had faced the attacks she did:
“The difference in their stories seemed obvious to me. Ann kept a low profile, dressed conservatively, installed a burglar alarm, locked her sturdy front door at all times and kept a gun her front hallway. Sarah, on the other hand, dressed like a flower child (she wasn’t a druggie, but she looked like one), had no burglar alarm and only the flimsiest of front doors; and in any case she often kept her front door ajar, where she could be seen puttering around her living room in shorts and a halter.”
While Sarah's lack of a burglar alarm and the “flimsiest of front doors” are no match to Ann’s thorough security measures against intruders, Rottenberg is implying that Sarah had invited criminals to assault her because she “dressed like a flower child” and “putter(ed) around her living room in shorts and a halter.”
Rottenberg’s callous words attracted the attention of the Women’s Media Center – founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem – which started a Change.org petition in order to persuade the Broad Street Review to remove Rottenberg from his position as editor, and remove the article in question from the site.
As of now, the petition has close to 19,300 signatures, a number that is climbing up by the seconds. “It’s tremendously heartening to see such a strong nationwide response through our Change.org petition,” said Julie Burton, President of the Women’s Media Center. “Every signature represents an individual taking action to let the Broad Street Review know how unacceptable Rottenberg's commentary was.”
Click here to sign the Women’s Media Center petition, "Editor Who Blamed Lara Logan For Her Gang Rape Must Go".
To read Rottenberg’s heinous article, “Male sex abuse and female naiveté”, click here.
Sources: The New York Times
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.