With a documented epidemic of one in three servicewomen being sexually assaulted by their comrades in the military, the news of an affair between General David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell seems insignificant by comparison.
The amount of resources being used to uncover this relationship between two consenting adults raises the question: Why do we spend more time reporting on extramarital affairs, while neglecting a problem as atrocious as rape within the military?
The coverage of this story is not only blown out of proportion, it replays tired sexist attitudes towards women. Since Adam and Eve, women have been scorned and blamed for tempting men and causing their downfall.
We’ve all read about Broadwell’s “revealing arm pits,” tight shirts and toned arms that were often left uncovered. A stereotype about seductresses is never complete without tales of how she “got her claws in him,” as the Business Insider reported, quoting a source.
Meanwhile, General Petraeus is being applauded for admitting the affair and “doing the right thing” by resigning, while the CIA is without a leader and vulnerable as a result of his poor choices.
Let’s stop pitting every woman who is caught having an affair with a powerful man as the evil temptress who brings him down.
The real scandal is that with each passing day spent digging for more titillating facts about General Petraeus’ sex life, more women in the military will be raped.
The public shaming belongs to the media — not to Broadwell — for doing a disservice to the public by confusing the real issues of our time. Sonia Ossorio, president, National Organization for Women, NYC
Sonia Ossorio, president, National Organization for Women, NYC