As part of our weekly question series to candidates running for District 9 supervisor, we took a reader-submitted question this week from someone who said she’s been sexually assaulted multiple times in the Mission District, including on Muni and on the streets.
What could you do as supervisor to make sexual assault less common? What would you do to increase resources for sexual assault victims?
Joshua Arce, Civil Rights Attorney
The status quo in City Hall has failed to address the violent crime and property crime residents are dealing with every day in our neighborhoods. In order to put a stop to sexual assaults, we need to have better coordination with our police department and other city agencies, particularly Muni. For sexual assault survivors, we must increase funding to non-profits who are doing the very necessary work with survivors day in and day out.
Iswari España, Training Officer with the Human Services Agency
We have to teach the general population that sexual assault is a deplorable act, the worst kind of action perpetrated towards a human being. We need to raise public awareness that this city has zero tolerance for such behaviors. We need to have preventive conversations with educators, parents, and children to raise consciousness.
I would increase funding to special victims units, victim services, advocacy programs at the District Attorney’s Office, Police Department, and community based organizations. I would invest in programs that support survivors. I would favor initiatives aimed towards the education of the public and I would develop comprehensive public policy. I would advocate for more permanent funding for victim centered programs. I vow to allocate a direct stream from the city’s general funding.
Hillary Ronen, Chief of Staff to Supervisor David Campos
I have been working with a woman who was drugged in a bar and then raped by a wealthy man in his home. This brave woman is working tirelessly to heal from her sexual assault while also working to convince city officials to take her case seriously, obtain justice, and most importantly stop this man from raping again.
Working with this incredible survivor has taught me that we have much to do in San Francisco to stop an epidemic of sexual violence. If I am elected supervisor, I will collaborate with survivors, law enforcement, and community advocates on the following priorities:
- I will pass legislation to require an education program for SFPD officers on gender bias and on conducting investigations using the most modern and effective techniques available including hair follicle testing, Drug Recognition Experts, timely testing of rape kits, and skillful interviewing.
- I will create a designated staff position at City Hall focused exclusively on sexual assault similar to the positions that already exist to address domestic violence and hate crimes. This staff person could collect and study data from SF General, SFPD, and the DA’s office to understand how, when, and where assaults are committed, and make recommendations to prevent and improve the city’s response to assaults.
- I will work with SFUSD to create prevention campaigns in schools to teach students about the importance of consent and to encourage students to report sexual assault crimes.
Melissa San Miguel did not respond to this week’s question.
43 Questions is a weekly series — started 43 weeks before Election Day — to question the candidates running for District 9 supervisor. Send us questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know in comments or in an email if you think candidates have answered as asked.
I will hope the new Public Advocate will implement Ronen’s suggestions, and then we won’t need another staff position.
Does the Mission have higher rates of sexual assault than other areas? Curious.
The solution is prevention and prevention can be created by making examples of the criminals. When caught we need the media to out them and embarrass them.
We need a heavier police presence at the times these things occur and foot patrols where the cops get to know the locals. This can help so much on the preventative side.
Education younger generations is smart but many of these assaults are done by men too old to get early, so somehow we have to find a way to educate them. It starts with harassing language. My friend lived in the mission and she was followed, cat called and hassled EVERY day. This shouldn’t happen ONE time. Heavier police presence would allow a cop to see this and talk to a person and say “this is not acceptable”. But also they can only work within certain laws. In some countries they have made cat calls illegal because it’s demeaning to women and they feel of they get rid of the little stuff, less of the big stuff happens. The question is, are harassing things like cat calls “free speech”? I don’t know. If you stop someone following (light stalking) are you infringing on their rights?
We see black men stopped all the time for doing nothing wrong but a guy stalking a woman is ignored.