San Diego

Filner's First Accuser Shares Hope for #MeToo Movement

McCormack said all society has been impacted this time

At the time, Irene McCormack did not see herself as being the "first to come forward."

McCormack is the former communications director for now disgraced former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, and the first woman in San Diego to accuse Filner of sexual misconduct.

At the time, she saw it as righting a wrong. Although she did not see it as making a difference, she knows she made one after more women stepped forward. But she said it was not easy.

“In the Filner case it was just one mayor, and there wasn't anybody else coming out and saying this also happened with this person and that person,” said McCormack. "So I think people could think of it as an isolated case."

Filner eventually pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and sexual battery involving three women in a plea deal, and was forced to resign from office.

That was four years ago. Now, there has been a national spate of sexual misconduct allegations made against powerful men who have been forced out of their jobs.

McCormack said now sexual misconduct by a person in power cannot be dismissed as an isolated incident. She said it is discouraging to think of how many women have been affected, though not surprising.

McCormack said most females she knows have been sexually harassed in some respect, but it is also also encouraging to know people are talking about it and having conversations.

"I think it begins at home, talking to your fathers or your brothers or your uncles or your friends," said McCormack. "I've had conversations with men about this who never approached me before because I think they all of a sudden, they understood the depth of it."

McCormack said she does not see the issue going away because all society has been impacted this time.

"It's not just me, a government relations person, coming out and accusing the mayor, who then was convicted of sexual battery," said McCormack. "This is beyond that. It goes through all classes in the United States. This has affected everybody."

She said she is happy to be in the company of other women who have experienced situations similiar to hers, and to help forge a path for others to follow.

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