Friday, March 9, 2018

Believe the Women

I’ve been following the goings on in Annapolis during this years legislative session. Have you? The women’s caucus released a report detailing a culture of harassment and describing examples of outright abuse. Then, stunningly, Del. Kathleen M. Dumais released an open letter to the press, signed by the women of the legislature:

objecting to press accounts where the legislature has been portrayed as "'a frat house' and a den of iniquity. The letter says such portrayals are "unfair and inaccurate." (from Bryan Sears, Maryland Daily Record)

This letter did not go over well with members of the women’s caucus.

“I have a lot of feelings about that letter — like furious and betrayed,” said the staffer who asked not be identified for fear of retaliation.

I cannot for the life of me understand why women were not supporting women here. What on earth was Delegate Dumais thinking? It seems that she and a few others who had input into the letter were worried that press coverage of the caucus report was reflecting poorly on them and their work in Annapolis. They were worried that it made them look bad, that they wouldn’t be taken seriously. 

Well, in my opinion the people they should have been thinking of first were the women who came forward with their stories of harassment and abuse. It’s just mind boggling to me that their response to this report was, “wait—this might make me look bad.” Do we support #believethewomen only so long as it doesn’t encroach on our personal comfort zones?

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. My wish for Maryland would be women supporting women in Annapolis. Be the example you’d like to see throughout the state. 

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