Train­ing is ‘first step’ for prob­lem

Sex­ual ha­rass­ment per­va­sive is­sue, say House mem­bers.

Dayton Daily News - - FROM PAGE ONE - By Michelle Ye Hee Lee

First came the flood of so­cial-me­dia posts from for­mer and cur­rent con­gres­sional em­ploy­ees who were sex­u­ally ha­rassed on the job. Then came more than 1,500 names of for­mer con­gres­sio- nal staffers urg­ing Congress to fix the prob­lem.

Now, mem­bers of Congress are ac­knowl­edg­ing they have col­leagues who have en­gaged in lewd be­hav­ior, pub­licly com­ing to terms with sex­ual ha­rass­ment as a per­va­sive prob­lem on Capi- tol Hill. At a Tues­day hear­ing, law­mak­ers aired tan­ta­liz­ing de­tails, al­beit with­out nam­ing names, of un­wanted sex­ual com­ments and ad­vances tak­ing place in their midst.

“This is about a mem­ber, who is here now. I don’t know who it is, but some­body who I trust told me this sit­u­a­tion,” Rep. Bar­bara Com­stock, R-Va., said at the hear- ing on sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

The male mem­ber tricked a young fe­male staffer into meet­ing him at his res­i­dence, Com­stock said. When the staffer ar­rived, he greeted her in a towel, then ex­posed him­self, she said. The staffer left the house and sub­se­quently quit her Hill job, she said. There’s more. Harassers have proposi- tioned them­selves to staff mem­bers by ask­ing: “Are you go­ing to be a good girl?” Some have ex­posed their gen­i­tals to vic­tims. Oth­ers have grabbed vic­tims by their pri­vate parts on the House floor, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said.

“In fact, there are two mem­bers of Congress, Repub­li­can and Demo­crat, right now, who serve, who have not been sub­ject to re­view but have en­gaged in sex­ual ha­rass­ment,” said Speier, who has been push­ing for years to make anti-ha­rass­ment train­ing a re­quire­ment.

Speier said her of­fice has been “in­un­dated” with calls and meet­ings with for­mer and cur­rent staff mem­bers, both fe­male and male, who have been sub­jected to inap- pro­pri­ate and pos­si­bly il­le­gal sex­ual ad­vances. Th­ese calls came after Speier, who has pub­licly de­scribed be­ing forc- ibly kissed by a then-chief of staff when she was a con­gres­sional em­ployee, launched a #MeTooCongress cam­paign to draw at­ten­tion to sex­ual ha­rass­ment on the Hill.

Mem­bers of the com­mit- tee that over­sees daily oper- ations in the House ac­knowl- edged the prob­lem at Tues- day’s hear­ing and called on anti-ha­rass­ment train­ing for all em­ploy­ees as a nec­es­sary first step to im­prov­ing work- place con­di­tions in Congress.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.