Sister Kathleen McNany and 13 of her Benedictine Sisters of Baltimore sent a letter to all female U.S. senators this week asking them to vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“The doubts are too many, and the FBI search is being too narrowed to resolve any of this,” McNany wrote. “Let our young women known how valuable they are to the future of this country.”
Three women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in separate incidents in the 1980s.
McNany, who is with the Emmanuel Monastery in Lutherville, said that two events triggered her letter. The first was an interview she heard on the radio with high school students about their responses to Thursday’s congressional hearing into Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh.
McNany said the message they were getting was that men should not be held accountable for something that happened 30 years ago and that “boys will be boys.” It was an attitude, she wrote in the letter, that “devastated these young women.”
“I hadn’t thought about it from viewpoint of teenager who is hearing this,” McNany said. “Having nieces and grand nieces — how can their lives can be ruined, but not the boys who are doing this?”
She said she didn’t sleep after she heard the young teenagers’ reaction. “That is how much it is bothering me,” she said.
She wrote the letter and showed it to her sisters. They told her they wanted to co-sign.
“What we are saying to our young people… especially the girls,” McNany wrote, is, “You don’t matter. What you suffer now and as you try to get on with your life after such a violation, is of little concern, because boys will be boys and should not be held accountable as their lives go forward.”
The second thing that prompted her letter, McNany wrote, was a column in the Washington Post by writer Alexandra Petri with the headline, “It is very difficult to get the train to stop.” The article, McNany writes, is about how no matter how many women speak out, “the train of power and patriarchy does not stop!”
The Benedictine Sisters of Baltimore is a small monastic community following the tradition of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica. According to their website, the sisters’ lives “reflect the ongoing relevance of monastic values lived out in challenging and creative ways.”