The sexual harassment and assault allegations against high-profile Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein didn’t just reveal the persistent problem in the entertainment industry but also gave strength to victims of sexual abuse from all walks of life to name and shame other sexual predators.
The problem is not just confined to the entertainment industry. Women in every profession experience similar situations – and they are now speaking out. At least six women have so far come forward and accused Florida State Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) of sexual misconduct.
The women, who requested to remain anonymous over the fear of retaliation, said the state senator had touched them inappropriately without their consent and also passed remarks about their bodies.
They also alleged Latvala sexually abused and harassed them for several years, groped them at different occasions and made inappropriate comments about their bodies and weight.
One of the women said she felt humiliated when he would grunt in her ear during hugs.
“You don’t force your kids to hug relatives and kiss relatives, and this is why. There are other senators, male and female, who I hug and kiss on the cheek on a regular basis, but they’ve never touched the places on my body where only my bikini touches,” said an accuser.
She added, “It was so disgusting and I had to just stand there, over and over again when he would do this, squeezing me hard and grunting in my ear. The question isn’t whether this happened to me. The question is who this didn’t happen to in the Capitol. It’s not like it’s a secret that Jack is like this.”
Another lobbyist who reported the misconduct said she was afraid of Latvala’s temper.
“He would brush against my boob, cup my a** with his hand,” she said. “But it was in a crowd. So it was in public but somehow it was so people couldn’t see.”
Another woman claimed Latvala sexually abused her in an elevator.
“He reached around the far side of my body and just started grabbing. His hand went around my back and grabbed me around my lower frontal abdomen and then wandered,” she explained. “He touched the underside of my breast on that side. I jumped and might have said something like ‘whoa,’ but before I could react any further, the elevator ride was over.”
The accusations come at a crucial point for the Republican, who is also state senate’s powerful budget chairman, just as he announced to run for the governor.
Latvala, obviously, denied the allegations and said, “I’m sure that you have handpicked people and you are going to let anonymous people have this kind of impact on the career of a guy who has been there for 16 years.”
Thumbnail Credits : Florida State Senate