Today in Rape Culture

[Content Note: Rape culture; sexual assault and harassment.]

Welp, this sounds like a terrible idea:
10News [of San Diego] has learned Mayor Bob Filner has agreed to be the keynote speaker at a benefit for sexual assault victims.

A women veterans group tells 10News the mayor's camp has just confirmed the appearance. Filner was originally scheduled to attend as an award recipient.

The group has stripped him of the award. Instead, he is set to address the scandal now consuming City Hall.

The woman leading the benefit is Tara Jones, the president of the National Military Women Veterans Association of America.

Months ago, Jones' group decided to honor Filner with a lifetime leadership award for his work on behalf of women veterans, including the issue of sexual assault.

Amid the recent scandal swirling around Filner, the group stripped him of the award. In a statement, the groups said, "We do not tolerate sexual discrimination at any level within our society."

Still, the group did not disinvite the mayor from the August award gala, instead announcing that he will address the scandal in a speech.

"He is now the keynote speaker on these injustices," said the group.

A motivation for the invite was not given, but Jones has repeatedly expressed the importance of creating awareness.

"We need the awareness piece, then have more dialogued to fix this," Jones recently told 10News.
Maybe—maybe—this would make sense if Filner had demonstrated any willingness to accept meaningful accountability for ramming his tongue down one woman's throat and sticking his hand in her bra, kissing another woman against her will, and telling a third woman she would work better "without [her] panties on." But he has not.

He has refused to resign his mayorship, and promised to seek counseling while insisting it was all just a big misunderstanding: "I'm a hugger, of both men and women... As it turns out that those are taken in an offensive manner, I need to have a greater sense of awareness of what I am doing and we will correct that, and I am taking those steps. ...There is a difference between someone who is tough to work for...and sexual harassment."

Giving this platform to someone who might well use it to defend his own history of sexual assault is wildly inappropriate. As a survivor, I cannot even imagine sitting in the audience while he has the floor in what should be a safe space.

Even in the best case scenario, even if Filner is the most self-reflective and contrite predator of all time, I wouldn't have the slightest inclination to sit in a room with him, listening to him talk about hurting women.

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