Congresswoman Says Two Current Lawmakers Engaged In Sexual Harassment

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“In fact, there are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, who have been subject to review or have not been subject to review, but have engaged in sexual harassment.”

 

The sexual harassment and assault allegations against high-profile Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein not only exposed the abusive environment in the industry but gave strength to victims of sexual abuse from all walks of life to name and shame other sexual predators.

At a House hearing on how to prevent sexual abuse, female members of Congress shared their experiences of sexual misconduct involving current lawmakers.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) told the panel that two current House members, a Republican and a Democrat, had engaged in sexual harassment.

“In fact, there are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, right now who serve, who have been subject to review or have not been subject to review, but have engaged in sexual harassment,” said Speier.

They included “propositions such as ‘Are you going to be a good girl?’ to perpetrators exposing their genitals, to victims having their private parts grabbed on the House floor.”

Speier added, “We do know that about $15 million has been paid out by the House on behalf of harassers in the last 10 to 15 years.”

However, she did not identify the lawmakers.

“I'm not at liberty to discuss those cases,” said Speier.

At the testimony, Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) said she also heard of a current congressman who had exposed himself to a young female staffer.

“This member asked a staffer to bring them over some materials to their residence. And a young staffer — it was a young woman — went there and was greeted with a member in a towel. It was a male, who then invited her in. At that point, he decided to expose himself. She left, and then she quit her job. What are we doing here for women right now who are dealing with someone like that?” Comstock asked.

Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) also called for an across the board training.

“I believe we need mandatory training, and probably everyone here would agree,” she said.

Last week, the Senate passed a resolution to require training to prevent sexual harassment. Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), a lead sponsor of that measure, said the next step was to make changes in how harassment complaints are handled.

“You wonder why there’s only 21 women in the Senate or why there’s no women running Hollywood studios or there’s hardly any women running major businesses. Well, when you have a work environment where people can’t get ahead without having to put out, that’s what happens,” said Klobuchar.

 

 

 

 

Spotlight, Banner: Reuters, Yuri Gripas

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