Change.org’s Shelby Knox reports that the Broad Street Review recently published a particularly cold-hearted victim blaming essay on the rape of CBS reporter in Egypt. Lara Logan was assaulted four months ago while reporting about the people’s revolution in Cairo. Dan Rottenberg, the editor-in-chief of the Philadelphia based online arts magazine, penned a letter stating that she must take responsibility for what happened to her.
“Male Sexual Abuse and Female Naivete”, the disgustingly titled piece, features a picture of Logan in a cleavage-baring dress at an awards show with the caption “What message was the TV journalist Lara Logan sending here?”, as if wearing a sexy gown at an awards show is an invitation for any man to forcibly assault you, let alone a group of men who have not seen you in said dress. So because Logan owns body baring clothes, her body is now public property at all times? Pure insanity.
Rottenberg (who’s surname is incredible appropriate) has a message for women who dare to think that their bodies are their own property to dress as they see fit, as opposed to billboards that advertise our levels of sexual willingness; “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.”
He also mentions two women who he lived nearby in the 1980’s, one of whom was left alone by neighborhood creeps (she dressed conservatively), while the other had her house broken into, her child was molested and she was nearly raped herself (she wore short tops and shorts). Rottenberg suggests that had the latter changed her behavior and attire, she wouldn’t have suffered so and he chides her for complaining at community meetings about the thugs who’d terrorized her family: “it’s usually easier to change your own behavior than to change someone else’s.”
While the Broad Street Review is a small publication that most of us probably had not heard of prior to this incident, it is important that people who promote such dangerous, sexist and hateful attitudes are addressed seriously and immediately, especially when they are being provided a public platform to do so. The publication should remove both the article and Rottenberg; people seeking out information about theatre and dance in Philadelphia should not be subject to such sexist nonsense.
Rape is no laughing matter and we cannot accept the pervasive suggestion that we should teach women how not to be raped (as if this is possible), as opposed to teaching men not to be rapists. Please follow Knox’s urging to sign the petition created by the Women’s Media Center asking Broad Street Review to cut Rottenberg’s mic.