Empower sexual assault victims

The 128th Maine Legislature will consider a bill — LD 169 — called An Act to Protect Sexual Assault Survivors, which would give additional protections for alleged victims of gross sexual assault. This is an extremely important piece of legislation.

In summary, this bill requires law enforcement to provide written information to a victim concerning his or her right to undergo a forensic examination, receive the results of said examination, and dispose of the results when and how he or she wishes. The results of the examination include toxicology and DNA information of the alleged perpetrator. Additionally, this bill requires that law enforcement retain the forensic report results for up to 60 days or longer if requested by the victim.

Alongside the legal reasons that this bill should pass, there are numerous personal reasons as well. All alleged victims will immediately know what their options are regarding obtaining a forensic exam. Toxicology and DNA results will likely enhance victims’ court cases. The results will empower and give a sense of control back to the victim, who was so wrongfully stripped of these. Law enforcement is currently mandated to keep records indefinitely, so the newly-posed timeframe for keeping records will be more productive.

LD 169 has been posted and printed, but now it needs to be passed. People’s voices will count here. We encourage readers to write or call the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Colleen Madigan to show support for this legislation. The more support, the more likely this bill will become law.

Paige Moore

Portland

Kayla Hamel

Lewiston

‘Pajama Game’ review off

I found Judy Harrison’s Feb. 22 BDN review of “The Pajama Game” by the School of Performing Arts at the University of Maine in Orono, where I teach, perplexing on a couple of issues.

Harrison’s comments that the musical might not stand the test of time because of its “depiction of women and their treatment in the workplace” would seem to suggest that only musical revivals that depict women in a positive light should be produced. I guess, by this measure, any productions of William Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” should stop immediately, as well as any other play or musical that may tell it like it was in the old days.

The problem with this type of thinking is that audiences are not dumb. They understand that plays represent the cultural values of their time, regardless of whether those values are different than those of today or whether they agree with them. In fact, many of our classic musicals are a record of what life was really like, without really endorsing those values for today’s audiences.

In the case of “The Pajama Game,” it could be argued that that’s the way life was in America at that time, and that is why it still enjoys many revivals, including this one that was directed by a woman, Dawn McAndrews. In a skillful contemporary production, the examination of America’s values in the context of history, can be educational and can help elucidate who we really are and who we strive to be today.

Tom Mikotowicz

Bangor

Trump milks a widow’s anguish

I have to hand it to President Donald Trump — his speech to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night was one of the best speeches I’ve heard a president deliver to Congress.

I was distressed, however, about the degree to which he milked the anguish of the widow of Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, who died during a January raid on an al-Qaida compound in Yemen. It effectively blunted the call for an investigation into the raid that resulted in his death, an investigation endorsed by Owens’ father who was not in attendance.

By the time the uncomfortably sustained applause was over you’d think Owens, who certainly deserves our respect and appreciation, was the only veteran ever killed in combat. His name, the president promised Owens’ widow, will be on our lips and in our prayers of remembrance for eternity.

I doubt it, but if that’s the case, it will probably displace the names of hundreds of thousands of our other dead veterans who most of us have forgotten or those of the millions of innocents dead in their wake.

Phil Crossman

Vinalhaven

Take responsibility for promoting hate

It’s pretty rich when President Donald Trump goes before the nation to decry and condemn acts of discrimination and violence that are becoming increasingly prevalent in our country, while at the same time avoiding any acknowledgement of his potential role in contributing to this disturbing state of affairs.

Throughout his campaign and into the early stages of his administration, he has continually spewed hateful and bigoted rants aimed at inciting cultural divisions and suspicions of minorities, immigrants, and those seeking asylum. White supremacists like David Duke and other hateful organizations have openly expressed their admiration for Trump and his cronies, and they have indicated that they feel more emboldened than ever to join him in spewing hateful rhetoric and deeds. In Maine, we have seen Ku Klux Klan flyers distributed in several towns. How disheartening and alarming.

If Trump wishes to be taken seriously in his condemnation, he needs to admit his culpability and apologize to all Americans. Otherwise, his words are no more that hypocritical window dressing. He is the sick arsonist who fans the flames, cries fire, and then seeks to present himself as a noble first responder. It just does not wash, and he should be ashamed.

Neal Guyer

Thomaston

Defend Mainers’ health care

Soon, the U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Millions of Americans have been allowed health coverage because of the act’s implementation. Although I have been fortunate enough to have stable health insurance, the Affordable Care Act provided it for many families and individuals who didn’t have that good fortune before.

Sen. Susan Collins in January voted to pass a budget plan that set the stage for the law’s repeal. If this happens, a large number of Maine residents are going to be denied the health care that they need and deserve.

I urge Collins to defend the well-being of the people she represents in allowing the continuation of a program that advocates for their health and safety.

Lydia Schneider

Old Town