Matt Lewis

WaPost’s Henneberger: Rape shouldn’t be used to score points

A couple of weeks ago, on the heels of Richard Mourdock’s latest political gaffe, the Washington Post’s Melinda Henneberger penned a column arguing that “Rape shouldn’t be used to score political points.”

It was powerful, thoughtful and compelling.

And personal.

In it, Henneberger (who previously served as my editor at AOL’s Politics Daily) revealed that she had been raped at age 26.

But it wasn’t just her readers and friends who learned about it for the first time in the pages of the Post. During a recent discussion, Henneberger said that prior to publishing the story, she had to inform some of her closest family members about the rape.

“I had to tell my parents. I had to tell my children before I wrote it,” she said.

“I told the Post to … not put it online until the next morning — because I needed to tell my parents in Indiana — and my teenage children.”

As Henneberger reminds us, rape is all too common. It touches the lives of many Americans, and I suspect, most newsrooms. And in many cases, the victims (a word that does not define Henneberger) remain silent.

In this instance, Henneberger’s courageous revelation helped provide insight into what has become a subplot of the 2012 election cycle. Read her whole column here.