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Letter to Sen. Susan Collins re: Brett Kavanaugh

September 21, 2018
The Honorable Susan M. Collins
United States Senate
One Canal Plaza, Suite 802
Portland, ME 04101

Dear Senator Collins:

With the character of a Supreme Court nominee so clearly in question, we, the undersigned, are asking you to take a stand.

The prevalence of sexual violence in our society is shameful and demands action. It is a national crisis, and one that is of urgent concern in our own state of Maine: about ⅓ of the female respondents to the Maine Crime Victimization Report state that they have been sexually assaulted by men. This is not a time for equivocation or obfuscation. It is a time for clarity and leadership.

Sexual assault is wrong. Rape is wrong. Attempted rape is wrong. Today, tomorrow, and 35 years ago. These truths are not up for debate.

Yet, it dismays us, as men, to see how male power and privilege are routinely used to suggest that these are not absolutes. That, somehow, there continue to be loopholes, like: “She was drunk. He was drunk. They were just teenagers.” And when those loopholes don’t work, that men are able to pull social, emotional, and economic levers to protect themselves from the consequences of their behavior: “I can make sure you do, or don’t, succeed here. If that happened, why didn’t she say something sooner? You don’t want your parents to know what you were doing.”

Confirming Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court would be yet another reification of the very power structures that have allowed men to behave this way and get away with it.

We reject this status quo. We are steadfast in our commitment to end this injustice. And we are asking you to take a stand on this issue today.

“I cannot in good conscience support the lifetime appointment of Judge Kavanaugh to the highest court in the land.”

By making this statement, you will affirm that we can no longer fail to believe the brave women who tell us their truth; that it is time to stop making excuses for and protecting men who commit sexual assault.

You have a unique opportunity to continue to play a leadership role in changing the noxious culture of violence against women. We hope you will do so and oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court.


Adam Burk
Executive Director
Treehouse Institute

Matt Theodores
Executive Director
Maine Boys to Men

Philip Walsh
Executive Director
Maine Initiatives

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