The number of women who have accused San Diego Mayor (D) Bob Filner of sexual harassment is now 13. That’s 13 women who were violated by a man who told one woman who worked for him to come into work without panties; put his hand in a woman’s bra, forcibly kissed multiple women, abused his position of power and political connections, hit on women in what should have been political meetings. I’ve written about why what Filner did was very different from what Weiner did and how the media conflates the two as part of the same culture of sex scandals. But what Filner did was categorically worse than what Weiner did. He violated women who did not consent. And he engaged in unlawful behavior. Grouping the two men together trivializes sexual harassment and the importance of consent.
But it looks like Filner may be worse than we thought. Among the 13 accusers, at least 8 are female veterans and members of the National Women’s Veterans Association of America (NWVAA) in San Diego. Almost of of these women are survivors of sexual assault in the military. And some of them think Filner intentionally preyed on them.
Eldonna Fernandez was raped three times while serving in the military. She met Filner at a National Women’s Veterans Association of America “Healing and Hiring Fair.” She recalls,
“He looks at my card. He looks at me. He says, ‘Fernandez. Are you married? Do you have a husband?’ Very quick, very direct. I said, ‘No, I’m divorced.’ ‘Well, you’re beautiful, and I can’t take my eyes off you, and I want to take you to dinner.’ I was really shocked and I was like, ‘Uh, OK.’”
He then allegedly left a Fernandez a voice mail saying “Hi, it’s your newly favorite congressman, Bob Filner. You know, the one who fell in love with you at your last speech,” Her speech was about being raped.