Lady reporters face a different kind of risk across the globe, especially in countries with political unrest. Countries where rape is used as a weapon. When we think about rape being used as a weapon one of the first places that comes to mind is the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here it is a weapon of war. But what about other countries, where there is no war, just unrest and a restlessness, or even jubilation from a president being freely elected for the first time? Natasha Smith, a student reporter from the UK, was in Egypt covering the story. She had male body guards with her and was caught up in the moment of excitement. Just when she decided to leave “in a split second, everything changed.” She found herself being drug away by an large angry mob of men. They stole her equipment, ripped off her clothes, and tore her away from her friends. It is only due to the kindness of a few strangers that she survived.
She later recounts the experience on her blog. She remembers thinking “please God. Please make it stop. Please God. Please make it stop.” And yet after this terrifying experience that no one should ever had people are criticizing her. If you do choose to read her story on her blog I gently warn you about the comments section. There is a lot of support for her but there is also a lot of bigotry, Islamaphobia, hate, and victim blaming. Why is it that when something happens that we don’t understand or don’t have an adequate explanation for we turn to hate. I would say it is out of fear most of the time though that is absolutely no excuse. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again, victim blaming is not okay. A person is responsible for their own actions. A rapist is responsible for raping, the victim, or survivor is never responsible. They deserve support, and even if you cannot understand, they need empathy. It will be hard enough processing through the assault without the judgmental assumptions and intolerance of the people around them. Let a survivor heal, on their own terms, and in their own way. Support and love, that is what’s needed the most.