Opinion

Reporters aren’t the only victims of sexual assault

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Tamara Holder
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      Tamara Holder

      Tamara N. Holder is one of the nation’s rising attorneys and legal analytical stars. She is a Contributor for Fox News Channel. She has received recognition from some of the country’s most respected people, organizations and publications.



      Tamara founded The Law Firm of Tamara N. Holder, LLC in 2005. Her work includes: criminal defense, expungement, race discrimination, police brutality, public policy, and pro bono practices.



      Soon after she founded her practice, Tamara quickly realized how even a dismissed misdemeanor arrest can return to haunt people. Many of her clients found themselves facing lifetime bans on employment, education, adoption, even access to credit – all because of a prior arrest record. Seeing the need for outreach in this area, Tamara founded www.xpunged.com, a practice that provides a second chance to those individuals who have expungeable offenses under Illinois law. She also helps ex-offenders seek a Governor’s pardon for non-expungeable offenses.



      Shortly thereafter, Tamara was invited to work with Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., Founder and President of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. With a commitment to pro bono work unparalleled in the City of Chicago, she founded The Rainbow PUSH Expungement Clinic at its headquarters in 2006. Every Monday night, a crowd gathers for her to review their criminal records and provide advice on expungements and other legal issues.



      Tamara also works closely with Rev. Jackson in crafting and executing public policy initiatives, together with programs to increase opportunities for minorities and the economically disadvantaged; as well as initiatives designed to get guns off the nations streets, help reduce street gang violence, and offer educational opportunities for young people. As a result of her work, she quickly caught the attention of not only Chicago’s civic leaders, but also of those nationwide.



      Tamara was the first in the country to expose the railroad industry’s improper employment practices toward those with criminal records. She spearheaded a Congressional inquiry and a hearing before the Congressional Committee of Homeland Security in February of 2007. Then, in July of 2007, Tamara testified as an expert witness before the Congressional Committee of Transportation, Sub-Committee of Maritime and Infrastructure. Her testimony was crucial to preventing passage of an invasive, anti-worker, anti-business piece of legislation calling for mandatory identification cards for transportation workers, a statutory scheme criticized by organized labor and management alike.



      In 2008, the Chicago Sun-Times recognized Tamara as one of “50 People Who Make Chicago a Better Place.” In 2009, her work was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.



      Tamara has met with Illinois Governors Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn on the issue of pardons and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on criminal sentencing and expungement laws. She has met with numerous Congressmen, including John Conyers, Bennie Thompson, and Sheila Jackson-Lee, as well as members of the Department of Homeland Security, including former Administrator of TSA, Kip Hawley on the issue of the relationship between hiring practices and terrorism.



      Tamara sits on the exclusive board of Women of Power (an organization within the Cook County Sheriff’s Office), alongside Congressmen Danny Davis and Jesse Jackson, Jr., as well as many judges and elected officials. The organization is devoted to helping women rehabilitate who are caught within the criminal justice system. She also sits on the board of Horizon prison ministry, Tamara believes in rehabilitation over incarceration for drug abusers.

      Tamara is an early graduate from college (The University of Arizona, 2000) and from law school (The John Marshall Law School, 2005). While in law school, she learned criminal trial practice as an intern for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago and contract negotiation and mediation Miramax Films in Los Angeles.

As a Fox News Channel contributor, I often find myself in heated debates with our country’s best television hosts, analysts and experts. I am always honored to have a platform to respectfully disagree with my conservative opponents.

But last week’s discussions about CBS News correspondent Lara Logan, who was beaten and sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square by a large mob, bothered me more than usual. Both FNC hosts Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly decided to spin the story into . . . well . . . nonsensical gibberish.

Ms. Logan’s attack can be analyzed from many perspectives; however, at its core, the attack is about protecting American women from sexual assault, be it in Egypt or on American soil.

The same day the story of Ms. Logan’s sexual assault broke, Tuesday, February 15th, a lawsuit was filed against Defense Secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates by members of our military for damages they’ve suffered as a result of sexual abuse while serving our country.

But there was no time for a discussion about the lawsuit.

Baseless speculation

Instead, Michelle Malkin, a woman for whom I have immense respect, appeared on “Hannity” to eloquently weave Ms. Logan’s senseless attack into an attack on the mainstream media and liberals.

I think if CBS News and the rest of the mainstream media want to do right by her and right by all the other journalists who were attacked last week and over the course of the last two weeks, what they will do is finally find some spine and refuse to whitewash the truth about who these assailants were, what they were motivated by. It is always interesting, of course, Sean, when many of the same people who are always talking about root causes of this, root cause of that, if it scores political points against conservatives, have nothing to say about the root causes of anti-Americanism in particular, in these festering places in the Middle East.

Michelle’s allegations of a spineless, whitewashing conspiracy are baseless, premature and dangerous. Ms Logan was the victim of a very serious crime while performing her job as an employee of CBS. No employer has a duty to publicly reveal private details of an ongoing criminal investigation. Furthermore, there is no evidence whatsoever that CBS or the mainstream media is intentionally covering up the facts of such a serious case.

One of the greatest features of America is our judicial system. Lady Justice is not a perfect woman; however, rest assured, Ms. Logan’s attack will be properly investigated. In fact, the Obama administration immediately requested the Egyptian authorities cooperate in a criminal investigation and preserve any evidence. (It was reported that there are cell phone videos of the attack.) White House spokesman Jay Carney stated, “We believe that we must hold accountable those responsible for committing these acts.” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Leslie Phillips said the United States will “hold accountable any person involved in the incidents of violence during the demonstrations.”

There is no place for political rhetoric and baseless accusations against the mainstream media during an ongoing criminal investigation.

We should focus on rescuers, not attackers

Interestingly, Sean pointed out Ms. Logan “was eventually rescued by a group of Egyptian women and approximately 20 Egyptian soldiers.” Read that again: Egyptian women and soldiers rescued Ms. Logan.

The people who rescued her were not anti-American. The people who attacked her may not have been anti-American either but rather anti-democracy, anti-peaceful demonstration, anti-freedom.

Furthermore, the barbaric sexual attacks were not targeted solely against Americans, but against all women. There were numerous reports of Egyptian women and other women from around the region being sexually molested as they protested for democracy, change and the end of the dictatorship.

  • Jon_Dysii

    Hi Tamara,

    I noticed in your bio, you appear to fight for the underdog. Do you think you could look into spousal support as being unconstitutional? I have to pay an alcholic ex over a thousand a month, while I continue to raise our boy. It’s brutal. I know my male gender won’t affect your looking into this, because you are truly fair and unbiased. Thanks.

  • toomuchinfo

    Here you go, Tamara, I found some American violence against a female reporter. Give it to ‘em, just like you blast our military. We’ll be waiting.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/02/21/2011-02-21_news_journalists_attacked_by_angry_mourners_in_california.html

  • WillOb1

    Tamara,

    I have to disagree with some of your presumptions about sexual assault in the military. I am an active duty Army defense attorney and I see how commands and Judge Advocates deal with sexual assault on a daily basis. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on commands from congress and from the civilian leadership to prosecute sex assaults. There are many prosecutions of Soldiers where cases should never even come close to going forward but because there is a lot of pressure to ensure that sexual assault is prosecuted Soldiers are prosecuted.

    In the military today all that needs to happen for a Soldier to be accused of sexual assault is a single report. That report will often lead to a Soldier in administrative limbo for up to a year while the case is investigated, no matter how much evidence of the “crime” there is.

    I have to doubt the number you give that 80% of individuals convicted of sexual assault are honorable discharge. That a very dubious number. I have never seen a panel convict a soldier of a sexual assault and not discharge them with either a Bad Conduct or Dishonorable Discharge.

    There is a lot of sexual assaults reported in the military but I think that has more to do with the mechanisms in the military that permit reporting. I do not think the amount of sexual assaults are statistically different than the rest of the population only the reporting and that has to do with the many different types of reporting available in the military.

    It is my personal belief that using sexual assaults and their victims is another way for those individuals who are not familiar with and denigrate the military attack the military. Sexual assault is a horrible crime but there is more to these lawsuits than these victims who allege mistreatment at the hands of their superiors.

    An open and honest discussion is needed on sexual assault in the military as opposed to using horror stories of a few alleged victims.

  • toomuchinfo

    “Huh?”, I thought, at first. Then I realized this is just, “We’re as bad as them.” Right. I wonder how many women were assaulted at Tea Party rallies this year?

    • toomuchinfo

      I also wonder how many women are serving in the Egyptian army? And how many female reporters were assaulted while covering stories anywhere in the West this year? But no, let’s go after those nefarious US servicemen. They’re animals!