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Pre-2008 Posts

The Rape of Iraq: Deep Sexing the News


Our sister and colleague, Lucinda Marshall, of the Feminist Peace Network, rocks severely on in the article excerpted below, posted this morning on Counterpunch.

Many of the companies that make the news accessible are also heavily invested in the pornography industry, a form of media that makes much, much more money than does hawking the news. Knowing this, it should not be at all surprising that when a news story that contains the same elements as a good porn plot occurs, the media doesn’t hesitate to frame the story from that angle. Sex sells. Violent sex sells even better.

Like Abu Ghraib, the brutal rape and murder of 15 year old Abeer Qasim Hamza was just such a story. Young soldiers, the supposed keepers of integrity and courage, defenders of our rights and values, in a premeditated act of sex and violence against a young, helpless girl who had earlier refused their taunts and advances at a checkpoint. The scene could just as easily been a script of a reality porn flick…

None of this is lost on news producers who are completely aware that their product is distributed in many cases by the same companies that profit so handsomely from pornography, companies such as Time Warner, Comcast and DirecTV, all of whom have invested heavily in the pornography industry.

The pervasiveness of this connection impacts how the media frames the story, even to the extent of editing the facts to fit the story. In an Op Ed piece about the Duke rape allegations, David Brooks waxed poetic about the reputation of the Duke Lacrosse team-their good grades and community service; that the alleged victim was an honor student and a military veteran was conveniently omitted from his piece. To have included that information would have damaged the media portrayal of the alleged victim as being deserving of whatever may have happened that night by virtue of her ‘behavior’. Not quite as blatant as Rush Limbaugh’s portrayal of her as a “ho”, but the intent is the same.

Similarly, the Associated Press ran an article on July 2 by Bassen Mroue that offered this astounding take on the context in which the rape and murder of Abeer Qasim Hamza took place,

“Iraq is a conservative, strongly religious society where many women are sheltered from contacts with males who are not family members.”

Mrouc conveniently leaves out any reference to the fact that prior to the U. S. invasion, women in Iraq enjoyed far more freedoms than in most Arab countries and that religious restrictions on women’s lives have increased dramatically since Saddam Hussein’s ouster.

The omissive wording in the ‘news’ report is no accident. What it effectively does is redefine why this story is an atrocity in a way that objectifies the victim as a pawn of war to be defended or destroyed; in the eyes of the perpetrators of this act, her attack was a de facto victory in the war on “terror”.

Read the article here, and thanks, Lucinda, for quoting me and linking to my article, Rape of the “Hadji Girl,” posted here and here. 




3 thoughts on “The Rape of Iraq: Deep Sexing the News

  1. Do you know what truly sucks about all of this? These women in Iraq are not even HUMAN to their attackers. They’re the “reason” why these “poor” men have been taken away from their families and their lives… Do you see the mindset here? These “men” blame the women for their term in Iraq. People use this as an excuse… In many of the “reports” I’ve read and the discussions in different forums… it is “understood” that these women are brutalized because the men have snapped, because they’re overseas. This is a very dangerous rationalization here…

    Heart, thank you for the truth. Lucinda too… We need to fire all media persons and HIRE both of you and a few other women here…

    Posted by Divine Purpose | March 16, 2007, 6:06 pm
  2. Ah. 😦 BB, if you’re reading, e-mail me.

    Posted by womensspace | May 31, 2008, 6:02 pm


  1. Pingback: Link Dump « Archive of the Biting Beaver - May 31, 2008

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