[Written in July 2012]
Mike Tyson is coming to Portsmouth Guildhall!
On the Portsmouth Guildhall’s website (link above), Tyson’s behaviour outside the ring is described as ‘controversial’.
Does rape provoke a sharp intake of breath, coupled with a statement something along the lines of : “Rape, eh? Hmm…that’s a bit controversial”?
It may well have been the case that Tyson’s conviction for rape created controversy. But ‘controversy’ will never be an adequate response to rape. ‘Condemnation’ might be more appropriate.
Aurora New Dawn – “a client-led service in Hampshire, offering safety, support, advocacy and empowerment to survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence” – has created a petition to ask Portsmouth Guildhall to cancel this event. You can sign it here: https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-guildhall-portsmouth-cancel-the-event-to-host-an-evening-with-mike-tyson
E-mail from www.change.org:
Great news! Thanks to over 3,000 people — including you — who signed Aurora New Dawn’s petition, Portsmouth City Council and Portsmouth Guildhall have cancelled the evening with “legendary figure” Mike Tyson — a convicted rapist.
Aurora New Dawn were delighted to hear the announcement on Wednesday, just a few days after starting the petition. They believe this move illustrates Portsmouth’s commitment to ending violence against women.
They’ve been overwhelmed by the support shown for their campaign. CEO Shonagh Dillon said “Today is a proud day for Portsmouth, and we would like to thank Portsmouth City Council, Portsmouth Guildhall and every single person who put their signature to our petition.”