January 12, 2013 5:20pm PT by Marisa Guthrie
Lara Logan: 'I Was Dying in That Square'
Lara Logan made a decision not to “fall apart” after a brutal sexual assault in Egypt’s Tahrir Square almost two years ago. She recalled actually being “elated” when she left Egypt after surviving the attack.
“I was dying in that square,” she said. “I never thought I’d see my children again. When I finally got home, just to see my children, it was almost surreal."
She said she now keeps a diary of her trips for her son, Joseph, 4, and daughter, Lola, 2. It is partly a hedge against putting herself in danger, so that if something happens to her they’ll know why she does what she does.
She has not been back to Egypt since she was attacked there. (The week before the attack, Logan and her crew were detained by the Egyptian police.) And she stressed that her story range has necessarily broadened since she was named a full-time 60 Minutes correspondent in September. But her children, her workload and her interests have necessarily shifted.
“There is part of me who would give anything to be living in Afghanistan right now,” Logan, 41, told reporters gathered for the 60 Minutes Sports session Saturday at the Television Critics Association press tour. “But I’ve also progressed beyond that. I have two small children. I have a husband who [endured] one week where I was in prison and the next week I was nearly dead. So he’s a little sensitive about that."
But Logan says she’ll never stop going to war zones. She returned from Afghanistan only two months ago and she is currently working on a piece about Al Qaeda in Iraq for 60 Minutes.
“We believe in those stories,” she said. “I’ll never stop covering them."
In a refreshingly candid post-session scrum, Logan exhibited the kind of strength and openness that has probably helped her process the trauma of the attack. She said that when 60 Minutes executive producer and CBS News chairman Jeff Fager called her to tell her the network was going to put out a statement about the attack, she made sure that it included that she was “sexually assaulted."
“You’ve been so violated and nobody wants to violate you even more,” she said. “But we weren’t going to lie about it." And she said she probably received 50,000 letters, many of them from men, thanking her for her candor. When the ordeal was over, she said, “you realize you have a choice: I am not going to fall apart."
She said she's not "tormented" by the ordeal. But going into war zones does require her to steel herself. Asked how she prepares for those trips now, she laughed: "Valium and red wine."
Email: Marisa.Guthrie@thr.com; Twitter: @MarisaGuthrie