At a news conference this morning announcing SF's decision to declare Valentine's Day in San Francisco "One Billion Rising Day" — which strives to draw attention to the fact that an estimated one billion women and girls are affected by domestic or sexual violence — District Attorney George Gascon reminded listeners that one in three women worldwide is beaten or raped during her lifetime.
"I have no patience for this," he said, noting an increase in calls to authorities from SF women seeking help for domestic and sexual violence. "This event is not just about women. Real men do not abuse women."
In a perfect world, we would tackle sexual violence via more productive means than vague global holidays and comments on what it means to be a "real man." But Gascon's words are notable given that, just last year, SF Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment for an incident in which he bruised his wife's arm during an argument. He was suspended without pay on official misconduct charges but eventually returned to his post after the city's Board of Supervisors did not collect enough votes to permanently remove him from office and called the assault "a private matter, a family matter" during his swearing-in in January 2012.
Gascon directly alluded to Mirkarimi during the news conference. "We still have people going around saying this is a 'private matter'," Gascon said. Indeed we do — and they sit in very high places.