The beating and sexual assault of CBS News Correspondent Lara Logan in Cairo generated thousands of comments, ranging from sympathetic to the truly awful "she-asked-for-it" variety. Comments in the latter category said women shouldn't be handling journalistic assignments in international flashpoints; that her good looks were a temptation; that her western clothing was an affront to a culture where many (though by no means all) women cover themselves; and on and on. The fact that Logan has years of experience reporting from extremely dangerous environments seemed to be lost on those who posted comments like these.
The discussion did have an upside: bringing attention to the fact that assaults on journalists, male and female, actually happen and the profession needs to respond intelligently to these events. No one has precise numbers about physical and sexual assaults, especially for women, who often don't report attacks for fear of losing out on important assignments if their editors feel they are going to be in more danger than a male colleague. Kim Barker, writing in The New York Times, discusses her own experience and makes a powerful argument for the importance of keeping female journalists out in the field everywhere. Read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/opinion/20barker.html