The sexual assault on foreign correspondent Lara Logan in Cairo last week underscores the dangers facing many women who report from the world’s hotspots.
Veteran conflict reporter Judith Matloff discusses the issue at length in a 2007 article in the Columbia Journalism Review. (pdf)
“Female reporters are targets in lawless places where guns are common and punishment rare,” writes Matloff, who experienced a close call herself on assignment in Angola.
“War zones in particular seem to invite unwanted advances, and sometimes the creeps can be the drivers, guards, and even the sources that one depends on to do the job.”
Most troubling, says Matloff, is the number of incidents that go unreported. Fearing the loss of a beat or a job, many reporters keep quiet about sexual abuse.
“The compulsion to be part of the macho club is so fierce that women often don’t tell their bosses. Groping hands and lewd come-ons are stoically accepted as part of the job, especially in places where western women are viewed as promiscuous.”