Oh so many things to say about May 1, 2011. Let’s see, first, I woke up to a room filled with sleeping beauties! My darling friends came to visit me in my new town to celebrate my birthday. The night before, we all got acquainted with the town eateries and watering holes. But waking up to all of them was a wonderful blessing and reminder that I have great things ahead of me this year. I am determined to get my life back; the one where I am sunny, lighthearted and hopeful. I’ve been making strides toward that goal, but something about choosing May 1 as my “start date” just made sense. And spending my morning surrounded by my girls made me ever more certain I was on the right track.
After a day of great food, sunshine and a town duck race (my duck was not a “high performer” let’s just say), and birthday cake (!) I didn’t think things could be better. But I was wrong. I turned on 60 Minutes, and lo and behold, there was Lara Logan talking about her sexual assault. Stick with me here, as I bet I totally just lost you, but I promise this was a good thing. Lara Logan recounted in detail the assault she suffered at the hands of an angry mob of Egyptian men while she was reporting on assignment from CBS in Egypt. Yes, it was awful to listen to each awful, graphic detail. BUT…what she did was SO IMPORTANT. She held her head high, talked about something she certainly did not have to share in the way that she did (national TV) and then posited that sexual assault victimizes the victim as long as it stays a secret. Lara Logan, you are such A Fight Back Woman, I wish had a big, shiny medal to lasso around you.
Please keep in mind that this feature came on the heels of Beckett Brennan’s tearful sitdown with Katie Couric weeks earlier on 60 Minutes where she disclosed details of a campus rape she endured by two school basketball players. It opened many people’s eyes to what takes place on our college campuses and how schools fail to handle sexual assault in a way that protects the victims or reduces risk.
I am writing a letter to 60 Minutes to THANK THEM for giving these women – and the difficult topics they spoke on – such an important platform for their stories. I recognize how rare it is that two stories of this kind receive high-profile national coverage seemingly in quick succession. A quick read of blog post chatter about Lara’s story alone indicates an enlightenment for those who saw it. People seem surprised, but grateful that she addressed such uncomfortable aspects of the crime. And the speed with which details of her interview traveled on Twitter, and the positive tone of the tweets, indicated to me that people were receptive to it and supportive. I couldn’t help but remember the similar response I received when my story went public. Lord knows I hope it becomes commonplace someday where women feel empowered to speak out. I send good thoughts and prayers to Lara and Beckett as I (now) know sitting in front of a camera and reliving the assault is a tough, tough thing.
Lastly, as if feeling like Lara, Beckett and I were part of some unscripted movement to remove the shame and secrecy around sexual assault wasn’t already a great high, I then learned…that our wonderfully kick-ass Navy SEALS offed someone I can only describe as the Devil incarnate. My birthday was the gift that just kept on giving!! Waking up today to the awesome newspaper covers and images of people celebrating in New York made it two straight days of wake-up awesomeness. That almost never happens. And I am not going to hold tomorrow morning to the ridiculously high standards of the past two mornings. But I certainly can hope.