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Portsmouth says no to Mike Tyson dinner

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Shonagh Dillon
Chief Executive
Aurora New Dawn

Further to the WVoN story on Monday, I am delighted to announce that Portsmouth City Council and Portsmouth Guildhall have decided to cancel the Mike Tyson event.

This decision illustrates Portsmouth’s commitment to end violence against women, which was recognised in 2010 when the city was awarded national White Ribbon status – the only city with this award on the south coast.

We have been overwhelmed by the support for the petition from residents of Portsmouth and beyond, and we are glad and grateful that Portsmouth City Council and the Guildhall decided to listen to their voices.

Talking with one another, listening to different viewpoints and ultimately, working in partnership on our shared priorities is one of the many things that makes Portsmouth great.

The work being carried out every day in our city to support the women, men and children experiencing violence and abuse is outstanding.

This work is undertaken not only by professionals in services like ours, but by an army of volunteers, activists and supporters working tirelessly across the city. Today Portsmouth City Council and the Guildhall made sure the voices of survivors were heard.

This is an inspiring occasion and I am very proud of my city. Unfortunately, we cannot take long to celebrate as the Mike Tyson VIP dinner event has now been moved to Fareham Town Football Club. Our victory in Portsmouth represents a sad day for the citizens of Fareham.

Regardless of where the promoters aim to launch this event, our objection to it remains clear. The glorification of violence against women cannot be tolerated because an individual also happens to excel at sport.

We know there is much work to be done in the UK in this area, as well as across the world.

Just a few months ago, we were proud to support the many campaigns outraged at the naming and vilification of a rape victim on social media following the conviction of Ched Evans.

These cases highlight the significant role that sporting fans, as well as professionals, have in taking a stand against rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.

There is no small irony in the fact that this event was cancelled today. Today is the final day of the National White Ribbon Relay: a campaign created and co-ordinated here in Portsmouth, which over the last month has seen towns and cities all over the country raising awareness of the links between violence against women and major sporting events like the Olympic Games.

As the White Ribbon Relay baton is carried through Weymouth today, we celebrate the communities across the country who taken a stand to end violence against women.

At the same time, Fareham Town Football Club is announcing that it will host a VIP dinner with a convicted rapist who continues to glorify that same violence. Local football clubs are at the heart of our local communities.

Amongst the many great projects run by clubs like Fareham’s across the country are soccer schools for children and young people. What message are we sending our communities and our children when we offer up a role model like Mike Tyson?

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.

Aurora New Dawn will be proud to carry the torch of our campaign onward to Fareham. We look forward to seeing you there.

  1. Tricia says:

    That is fantastic, well done.

  2. Missbex26 says:

    As a FEMALE resident of Portsmouth I am shocked and appalled at this petition against Mike Tyson. Our Country is one said to be proud of human rights, so why are we applauding a social injustice and discrimination? The conviction is over 21 years ago, he served his time, repaid his debt to society and is STILL being punished for it? If the uk allowed him entry to this country and to work in it, then why do these groups and our city fly in the face of decision? He is not coming over to the uk to promote domestic violence, or give his views on rape or promote how anyone should commit rape, he is simply coming to discuss his boxing career. Something that clearly many people are interested in. after the conviction he went on, to forge a fantastic career. I cannot believe that there are people out there that would not consider how he is clearly a reformed character, a married family man trying to share his wisdom and insight with others. Our sentencing laws are set ip for punishment as well as rehabilitation, we, as UK citizens should therefore not be supporting the allowance of a man not allowed the freedom of working in this City who has repaid his debt. If people are offending by him as a person then don’t book to see him!

    Food for thought, take a look at the other acts performing at the Guildhall that find comedy in racism, disabled children, amongst many derogatory comments regarding women? How come they are free to talk about such things, when Mike Tyson cannot come over and talk about his career as a boxer?

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