A message for Slaughenhoupt: We women will not simply ‘get over it’
The Calvert County Democratic Women’s Club has taken issue with Board of County Commissioners’ President Evan Slaughenhoupt’s (R) recent social media statements which drew a correlation between moderately questionable childhood games and the accusation of attempted rape made by Dr. Ford against Supreme Court nominee Judge Kavanaugh. We tried to voice our concerns directly to Mr. Slaughenhoupt on social media, but he dismissed them and accused us of playing partisan games. Many of us attempted to respectfully confront him directly at the Sept. 25 commissioners’ meeting. Again, he dismissed our concern as simple partisanship.
Mr. Slaughenhoupt, violence against women is not a partisan issue. It is not a political issue. It is a real and deep problem that permeates our culture, and statements like yours enable that permeation to thrive. There are young women in this county who have been sexually assaulted. If they knew that their elected official, a representative of their community, viewed their trauma as trivial childish games, they may decide to stay silent. Women all across this nation stay silent after such attacks fearing their communities will respond in exactly the way you have demonstrated on social media. This teaches young women that their pain is irrelevant, and teaches young men that such actions are excusable. As a public official, it is your duty to provide a safe environment for all your constituents, even the women.
We were also dismayed by the reaction of the board. Immediately following our powerful statement, the other commissioners discussed their county engagements as though we weren’t there. No statement from the sitting commissioners, either in solidarity with our position or with Slaughenhoupt’s, prompted us to walk out in disgust. As women in America speaking out against violence, we are tired of being ignored. Apparently, they had already “gotten over it,” as Mr. Slaughenhoupt asked all of us to do in his statement. We greatly appreciate Commissioner Pat Nutter (R)’s com- ment before the meeting’s close that Mr. Slaughenhoupt’s views are not the views of the entire BOCC. However, the fact that none of the other commissioners even acknowledged our presence is very telling and concerning.
Despite the numerous times he has been asked about his statement — on social media, in the newspaper and in the commissioners’ meeting — Mr. Slaughenhoupt has failed to condemn violence against women. After our message in the Sept. 25 meeting, he did not respond directly to our concern, but instead read a prepared and rehearsed statement quoting hyper-partisan talking heads condemning partisanship in America. Once again, violence against women is not a partisan issue. Trivializing sexual predation is disgraceful and inexcusable. Mr. Slaughenhoupt continues to simply discuss the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh, and refuses to acknowledge the issues we are raising.
As we have stated many times, we are not commenting on Judge Kavanaugh. Our concerns have nothing to do with Judge Kavanaugh’s fitness for office and have everything to do with Mr. Slaughenhoupt’s statements. His original statement did not speak to the truthfulness of the allegation made against the Supreme Court nominee. The statement suggested that there is an equivalency between the assault, whether true or not, and the consensual though inappropriate games children play in elementary school. A birthday spanking is not attempted rape, and to suggest so is reprehensible.
Mr. Slaughenhoupt is correct in his assertion that, as a free American, he has a constitutional right to speak publicly. As an elected official, he also has a responsibility to his constituency who can and will hold him accountable. If that’s too consequential, perhaps elected office isn’t for you.
No, Mr. Slaughenhoupt, we will not, as you insisted, “get over it.”