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Kshama Sawant has something to say about mayor’s lawsuit

Many have wondered what Kshama Sawant's next fight will be, now that Seattle has a $15 minimum wage (to be phased in over several years). At City Hall on Thursday night, she'll make the case for legalizing rent control.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols
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Members of the Seattle City Council have been quiet about the child sex abuse allegations against Mayor Ed Murray. Until now.

On Wednesday, Councilmember Kshama Sawant released a statement saying it’s vital not to remain silent on matters of abuse.

A civil lawsuit filed last week accuses Murray of raping a 15-year-old boy in the mid-1980s.

Murray vigorously denies the allegations. On Tuesday, his lawyer released details from a doctor’s exam that he says disproves a key element of the lawsuit.

In her statement, Sawant said she cannot speak to the veracity of the claims but she believes allegations of rape should always be investigated and taken seriously. 

She said a real discussion about rape and sexual assault is needed in society and it must be centered around the voices of survivors.

Her statement in full: 

Since Thursday, our city has been shaken by the allegations of sexual abuse brought forward against Mayor Murray.

While I cannot speak to the veracity of the claims, allegations of rape and abuse should always be taken seriously and investigated with care and diligence. I also believe it is vital to not remain silent on a matter such as this.

Our society, plagued by inequality and enormous imbalances of both power and wealth, is a painful place for sexual violence survivors.

I believe such serious charges must not be tried in a court of public opinion, which is so often cruel to survivors, and can be unjust for everyone involved. We have heard in recent days how survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence are reliving their own experiences of summoning the courage to come forward only to have their characters attacked. For many survivors, healing from the psychological violence of sexual abuse is a difficult, and sometimes lifelong process.Many have wondered what Kshama Sawant's next fight will be, now that Seattle has a $15 minimum wage (to be phased in over several years). At City Hall on Thursday night, she'll make the case for legalizing rent control.

Regardless of the outcome of this specific case, we need a real discussion about rape, molestation, sexual assault, sexual harassment and domestic violence in our society, and in that discussion the voices of survivors must be centered. Programs to provide support and counseling for survivors of abuse must be fully funded, paid for by taxing the rich, and widely available. I stand at the ready to work with advocates, survivors, and the community.

Year started with KUOW: 2015