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Marion Barry's man problem: Your sex and gender morning roundup

February 16, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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Marion Barry stands up for the men. (Photo: Jay Westcott)

INSIDE the federal class-action lawsuit filed yesterday on behalf of victims of military sexual assault: "More than a dozen female and two male current or former service members say servicemen get away with rape and other sexual abuse and victims are too often ordered to continue to serve alongside those they say attacked them. . . .In one incident, an Army Reservist says two male colleagues raped her in Iraq and videotaped the attack. She complained to authorities after the men circulated the video to colleagues. Despite being bruised from her shoulders to elbows from being held down, she says charges weren't filed because the commander determined she 'did not act like a rape victim' and 'did not struggle enough' and authorities said they didn't want to delay the scheduled return of the alleged attackers to the United States."

MARION BARRY is concerned that Rochelle Webb, interim head of D.C.'s Department of Employment Services, hasn't hired enough men:

Barry, who spent much of his speaking time at the hearing commenting on how bad a job former Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration had done creating jobs, began his line of questioning by noting that when he was mayor, 51 or 52 percent of his cabinet members were female. "So I’ve been a strong advocate of women in non-traditional positions," Barry said.

. . . Bonafides established, Barry then went on to express his concern about Webb's team.

“I know it was not intentional but I wanted to point out to you that I’m a little disturbed that there are no men," Barry said. Cue patronizing in 3...2...1: "I’m sure that going forward, as positions open up, that you’re going to find some qualified men to fill those position."

Yikes. Webb tried to respond that she looks for the best candidates regardless of gender, but Barry kept interrupting her, saying: "Dr. Webb, that is unacceptable to me."

WEBB REPLIED that "I’m looking to transform this agency, which means I’m going to step outside any stereotypical expectations and I will bring in the best, most qualified most competent person to help me lead this transformation, regardless of their race, their ethnicity, or their gender. And that’s called being in compliance with the discrimination laws of this nation.”

I'M SURE Barry is also hard at work remedying the sorry showing of female political representation in the D.C. Council.

HOW NOT TO respond to reports that CBS reporter Lara Logan was sexually assaulted while covering the Egypt demonstrations:

Exhibit A: "It's always wrong, that's obvious, but I'm rolling my eyes at how much attention she will get."

Exhibit B: An L.A. Weekly piece entitled "Lara Logan, CBS Reporter and War Zone 'It Girl,' Raped Repeatedly Amid Egypt Celebration" that goes on to describe a victim of sexual assault as a woman who used "her Hollywood good looks and spotlight to push a more hard-hitting agenda" (and also sleep with married men on the job) As a side note, it's probably not a good idea to assume a "sustained sexual assault and beating" is the same as "raped repeatedly."

SOMETIMES it's best to say nothing at all.

UNTOLD STORIES of female journalists sexually assaulted on the job: "The photographer was a seasoned operator in South Asia. So when she set forth on an assignment in India, she knew how to guard against gropers: dress modestly in jeans secured with a thick belt and take along a male companion. All those preparations failed, however, when an unruly crowd surged and swept away her colleague. She was pushed into a ditch, where several men set upon her, tearing at her clothes and baying for sex. They ripped the buttons off her shirt and set to work on her trousers."

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