I was dumbfounded to see this paper publish Frank E. Reilly’s op-ed (“Maine Voices: Despite bad behavior of some men, most of us are nice guys,” Oct. 15). At this particular moment in history, was his really the most vital voice to amplify?

Women are exhausted. The Brett Kavanaugh hearings left every woman I know aching and enraged as we watched men in power refuse to acknowledge survivors of sexual assault (a reality faced by one in three American women and one in six American men during their lifetime). We watched unimaginably strong, determined women relive the most traumatic moments of their lives on a hyper-public stage, and then saw those stories belittled and dismissed as irrelevant when weighed against potential damage to a man’s career.

Women are fighting for this country to recognize us as full human beings. None of us has energy to waste on coddling men’s hurt feelings when our personhood, our rights to control our own bodies and protect ourselves from harm, hang in the balance. We’ve been shouting our truths at the top of our lungs. Our voices are raw, and Mr. Reilly’s op-ed, and this paper’s choice to publish it, make it clear that we’re still not being heard.

I’m thrilled that Mr. Reilly doesn’t think of himself as a bad person. He’s assembled quite a list of accomplished men (though many of them aren’t as saintly as he seems to think; he’ll be pretty disappointed when he finds out that Washington and Jefferson owned people). I would encourage him, and all men who feel as he does, to simply keep being kind and respectful toward everyone.

Yes, sometimes it’s challenging. But upholding the social contract by treating fellow humans with decency doesn’t entitle you to any special praise. The women of this country have tougher, more important things to focus on – and perhaps the men do, as well.

Carrie Bell-Hoerth


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