On Sept. 27 on WMAL, First District Rep. Andy Harris described Christine Blasey Ford as a “troubled woman” with “psychological problems” (“Andy Harris calls Kavanaugh accuser a ‘troubled woman,’ suggesting she can’t be trusted,” Oct. 1). Ms. Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault while they were both in high school. Congressman Harris dismissed Ms. Ford by referring to her mental health without making the obvious connection that the experience of sexual violence is the “trouble” that often leads victims to seek mental health support.
I do not expect Dr. Harris to fully comprehend the trauma of sexual assault and how fear of it informs many women’s lives. I do expect that he shows the basic decency of listening to the lived experience of a woman without attempting to undermine her before all the facts are in. Instead, our representative insulted her with pity while casting doubt on her testimony, then went on to identify with the accused.
As we evaluate our choices for Maryland’s First District in the coming election, the actions of Dr. Harris’ opponent Jesse Colvin stand in vivid contrast. When former Army Ranger Colvin was asked to look into an alleged sexual assault in the ranks, he sought the counsel of leadership and experts to ensure his response was thorough and appropriate. After winning the primary, Mr. Colvin invited his opponent Alison Galbraith to join his team as a subject matter expert on women’s issues, among other matters.
Mr. Colvin recently attended Havre de Grace’s “Out of the Darkness” event, demonstrating awareness and respect for those affected by mental health crises. He was also in Hampstead and Manchester this week, recognizing that the congressional District 1 is more than the Eastern Shore. Based on their words and actions, Mr. Colvin rises above Dr. Harris as a representative for both sexes and as someone who is willing to listen to women and men. I hope women (and those who love them) take note in November.