After the sexual harassment scandal of high-profile Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein emerged, thousands of women joined the #MeToo campaign and shared their stories to highlight the prevalence of rape and harassment.
In wake of the ongoing campaign, four U.S. senators also came forward and shared their stories in a personal capacity.
NBC’s “Meet The Press” contacted 21 female senators, and four agreed to speak about their sexual harassment stories. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) shared stories of their ordeal.
Warren recalled her time as a law professor when she landed in an unpleasant situation with a colleague. She said when she went to his office he slammed the door and “lunged for me.”
The senator said she literally begged him to let her go: “You don’t want to do this. I have little children at home. Please don’t do this.”
“It’s like a bad cartoon. He’s chasing me around the desk trying to get his hands on me,” said Warren.
McCaskill and Heitkamp spoke about how they tackled sexual harassment as young politicians.
“I was a very young state legislator and in my 20s and I was single. And I was nervous about getting my first bill out of committee,” said McCaskill.
She added, “So, I cautiously approached the dais and went up to speak to the very powerful speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives. And I explained to him the bill I had, and did he have any advice for me on how I could get it out of committee. And he looked at me and he paused and he said, ‘Well, did you bring your knee pads?’”
“I do think he was joking but it was shocking that he would make that joke to a colleague,” added McCaskill.
Heitkamp, who was North Dakota’s attorney general at that time, recalled the moment she was confronted by law enforcement official after she spoke about domestic violence.
“I had an event where I was speaking and it was a retired officer. I was talking about what happens to women and what happens when there's violence in the home. And after I got done, this very much older law enforcement official came up to me and he pretty much put his finger in my face and he said, 'Listen here, men will always beat their wives and you can't stop them,’” she said.
Hirono said this is a prevailing problem in our society and is usually done by men to harass women. She also pointed out that men should know that this is something that is “not appreciated,” “not cute” and “not fun.”
The powerful campaign took off after actress Alyssa Milano posted on Twitter asking her followers to reply to her post with “Me Too” if they’ve experienced sexual harassment or assault. The response to her tweet was utterly overwhelming.
These storiesthat continue to pour in are a testament to how truly devastating the situation is for women everywhere.
It was bone chilling to see these powerful women & their reaction. I record the show but this time I am saving it to show my daughters.— John M (@NBizDev) October 22, 2017
Courageous women right here!— Opal (@Opalsdream) October 22, 2017
This was a very powerful segment! I’m touched by the candor of these Democrat women. Supporting #MeToo.— DePriest Dockins (@UncleDe) October 22, 2017
Thank you Chuck Todd for choosing this topic to spotlight. We need much improvement in these attitudes.— Mary Traynham (@mtrayn) October 22, 2017