› Female members of Congress describe incidents of sexual harassment,
WASHINGTON — Speaker Paul Ryan announced the House will require antiharassment and anti-discrimination training for all members and their staffs, just hours after a hearing in which two female lawmakers spoke about incidents of sexual misconduct involving sitting members of Congress.
“Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution,” Ryan said. “As we work with the Administration, Ethics, and Rules committees to implement mandatory training, we will continue our review to make sure the right policies and resources are in place to prevent and report harassment.”
The move comes days after the Senate unanimously approved a measure requiring all senators, staff and interns to be trained on preventing sexual harassment.
During a House Administration hearing Tuesday on sexual harassment prevention, Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., said she was recently told about a staffer who quit her job after a lawmaker asked her to bring work material to his house, then exposed himself.
“That kind of situation, what are we doing here for women, right now, who are dealing with someone like that?” Comstock asked. Comstock said there should be clearcut rules about the kinds of relationships and behaviors that are off-limits and create a hostile work environment.
Comstock said the name of the lawmaker she mentioned wasn’t disclosed to her, but emphasized that naming names is an important step in promoting accountability and encouraging victims to come forward.
At the same hearing, Rep. Jackie Speier said there are two current lawmakers who have been involved in sexual harassment.
“In fact there are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, who serve right now who have been subject to review, or not been subject to review, that have engaged in sexual harassment,” said Speier.
The Democrat from California recently introduced legislation to make training to prevent sexual harassment mandatory for members of Congress after sharing her own story of being sexually assaulted by a male chief of staff. Her bill also includes a survey of the current situation in Congress and an overhaul of the processes by which members and staffers file harassment complaints.