In Their Own Words

May 5, 2011

“I had no idea how endemic…it is so rife, so widespread, that so many Egyptian men admit to sexual harassing women and think it’s completely acceptable. In fact, blame the women for it… One thing that I am extremely proud of, that I didn’t intend, is when my female colleagues stood up and said that I’d broken the silence on what all of us have experienced but never talk about… women never complain about incidents of sexual violence because you don’t want someone to say, ‘Well women shouldn’t be out there.’ But I think there are a lot of women who experience these kinds of things as journalists and they don’t want it to stop their job because they do it for the same reasons as me – they are committed to what they do.”
--CBS News reporter Lara Logan, “Lara Logan Breaks Silence on Cairo Assault,” 60 Minutes, May 1, 2011

“Women in the U.S. military are more likely to be raped by fellow soldiers than killed by enemy fire. I know what you’re thinking – it sounds too unbelievable to be true. But it’s not… Some say that we should focus on more important issues because America is at war. But it is precisely because we are fighting abroad that this problem must be tackled head on. Division and strife within the ranks hurts our ability to defeat the enemy. In addition, military service is one of our nation’s highest callings. We cannot, as a country, allow violent criminals to besmirch the honor of the armed forces, and we certainly cannot condone a system that is designed to protect the perpetrators and punish the survivors. Lives are being ruined… This is a national disgrace, and the longer it goes unaddressed, Congress becomes an accomplice in these crimes. For my part, I will continue to speak out. I will soon establish a Web portal for women and men – yes, men are victims as well – to share their suffering until our military brass realizes it can’t hide these crimes anymore.”
--United States Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA), “Rapes of Women in Military ‘A National Disgrace’,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 17, 2011

“Look guys – all you guys in the audience – no matter what a girl does, no matter how she’s dressed, no matter how much she’s had to drink – it’s never, never, never, never, never okay to touch her without her consent… This doesn’t make you a man – it makes you a coward. A flat-out coward.”
--United States Vice President Joe Biden speaking in New Hampshire on behalf of the Administration’s new guidance to help schools better understand their obligations to prevent and respond to sexual assaults on campus, April 8, 2011