There were other, even more harrowing experiences. Collectively, they made me feel that I had a gigantic neon Victim sign on my forehead.
Perhaps as a teenager I made poor choices. Perhaps I should have looked for better friends. But I certainly never deserved the treatment I received from those boys, or the condemnation I received from my classmates and the adults charged to look after us.
Does something that happened 40 years ago still matter? In Ms. Flanagan’s interview for The Daily, she remarks, “The girls are still sitting with what [the boys] did to them.” And that is why it matters.
Thank you, Caitlin, for writing this piece. I believe Christine Blasey Ford because I have been where she has.
And, finally, thank God for the wonderful men there are in the world, especially my husband of almost 40 years.
New Milford, Conn.
As a male reader, I find Mr. Kavanaugh’s response and that of the GOP senators shocking but not surprising. Growing up in high school as a quiet and shy lad, I, too, often heard the locker-room jocks and party boys laugh and high-five one another over their “exploits”—they never seemed to consider their actions or the feelings of the women involved.
After seeing these “dudes” at reunions years later, I realized that most did not really change and always came across as little generals too entitled to find error in their ways and too proud to admit they were wrong, let alone have the ability to apologize. It is my experience that these “dudes” don’t change—they don’t take others into consideration. Instead, they become even bigger bullies, enabling one another with a wink and a nod at their deeds. This seems to be the only way they know how to act in the world, as they continue to be rewarded in our current society.
I also believe her! I hope your article enables women across this country and around the world to stand up and shout, Enough! You have abused our mothers, our sisters, and our friends. We will not reward bullies—this has to end here, now.
Thank you, Ms. Flanagan and Ms. Ford, for your courage and for telling us what we know is true. Please know there are so many that understand, support, and will defend you to our last full measure.
I read Caitlin Flanagan’s moving article “I Believe Her.” I love it and relate completely because that happened to me in 2008 when I was 25 years old. I was in medical school. Now, an unaccounted 10 years later, I’m not a doctor, but a recovering victim.
Name Withheld by Request
This piece brings to the forefront a subject that has been almost entirely neglected in the discourse about #MeToo: Women are expected to be prima facie forgiving of men, and we’ve silently met those expectations for a long time.
So long, in fact, that men and society at large have come to expect it from us. As #MeToo first took flight, the collective shock stemmed less from the idea that men behave badly than from the idea that women have had enough. The hardest-hitting blow was the notion that we’ve decided that things which have always been privately unforgivable are now also publicly so. The continued shock that we’re still not “letting it go” is the true reason we continue to be pilloried, called unreasonable, and accused of ruining men’s lives, even as the movement proves to be a valuable touchstone for the lived experiences of women.