Thursday, 19 July 2012

Dinner with a rapist

This, from

In 1992, Mike Tyson was convicted of raping an 18 year old woman and served just three years. Now Portsmouth Guildhall are describing him as a "legendary figure" - as did Sky Sports magazine last year - and promoting a dinner with him.

Local women's organisation, Aurora New Dawn, say heralding a rapist as a hero sends a dangerous message. They've started a petition on asking the Guildhall to immediately remove Mike Tyson from their programme. Click here to support their campaign. Aurora New Dawn believe that describing anyone convicted of rape as a legend or hero diminishes the importance and seriousness of rape and sexual assault.

Last year in Belfast an event with Mike Tyson was cancelled following public outcry. Aurora New Dawn believe that if enough people speak out, the Guildhall will have to reverse their decision and protect Portsmouth's reputation as a city committed to eradicating violence against women.

Will you join Aurora New Dawn and ask the Guildhall, Portsmouth to cancel the evening with Mike Tyson?

Aurora New Dawn provide services to women who've been victims of sexual and domestic violence. In recognition of their and other groups' work, Portsmouth was awarded 'White Ribbon City' status. But by inviting a convicted rapist to speak at the Guildhall, local groups believe their work is being undermined.

Click here to sign their petition calling for the event to be cancelled now.

All text (c)

UPDATE: I have now been contacted by one of the many people involved in the protest against Portsmouth Guildhall. This is what they say:

We have had no indication from the Guildhall so far that they have any intention of cancelling the event, but there have been similar campaigns in the past in other cities, and at least one that I know of was successful.

The Guildhall are currently holding the position that Tyson has 'served his time' and should now be allowed to appear in public on the basis of his boxing career. This does not hold water for the Aurora campaign team - we hold that Tyson's openly misogynist positioning in public means that his dangerous attitudes to women cannot be separated from his boxing career. Indeed, he has consistently conflated the two in order to gain publicity (for example giving interviews where he expresses incredibly violent attitudes towards women) and it is hypocritical to suggest that other people should be able to separate the two when he does not. It is not possible to separate Mike Tyson the boxer from Mike Tyson the misogynist and convicted rapist. He cannot demand that people separate the two whenever someone wants to call him up on making a living from glorifying misogyny and violence.
The writer Sarah Cheverton has reported on this issue for Women's Views on News as it has been ignored by the national media.