This particular congresswoman is starting #MeTooCongress in order to draw attention to sexual harassment upon Capitol Hill

This congresswoman is starting #MeTooCongress to draw attention to sexual harassment on Capitol Hill

Rep. Jackie Speier (D Calif. ) says the current program for reporting sexual harassment within Congress shields offenders and punishes victims. (Clare Major)

Rep. Jackie Speier on Fri shared her story of suffering from unwanted sexual advances in Our elected representatives, launching a #MeTooCongress campaign to boost awareness about sexual harassment plus assault on Capitol Hill.

Speier (D-Calif. ) urged previous and current staffers to share their own stories using the #MeTooCongress hashtag, the play on the #MeToo social media blogposts that have gone viral in reaction to the particular sexual harassment scandal involving Showmanship producer Harvey Weinstein. Thousands of ladies used the hashtag to share their encounters, sparking dialogue about the pervasiveness associated with sexual harassment.

In it, Speier said Joe Holsinger, chief associated with staff for then-Rep. Leo Thomas (D-Calif. ), held her encounter and forcibly kissed her whenever she was a congressional staffer. Speier did not name him in the video clip but identified him in response to press requests after the video published. Speier was about 23 or 24 at that time, and Holsinger was around 50. Holsinger died in 2004. Their family could not be reached regarding comment.

“I know what it’s like to keep these things hidden deep down inside. I know what it’s like to lie awake at night wondering if I was the one who had done something wrong,” Speier stated. “I know what it’s like years later, to remember that rush of humiliation and anger. You know what, many of us in Congress know what it’s like, because Congress has been a breeding ground for hostile work environment for far too long.”

Speier, who has unsuccessfully pressed to overhaul how harassment instances are handled in Congress, programs to introduce a bill next week in order to require anti-harassment training every year for everyone members and staffers and require a survey to accurately gauge the particular scope of the problem.

On Thursday, Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich. ) introduced a bill to need staffers to receive sexual harassment coaching every other year.

Congress can make its own rules about the handling associated with sexual complaints against members plus staffers and has passed laws exempting it from practices that apply at other employers. There is no mandatory intimate harassment training for all employees; every office decides whether its staff members should receive training. Federal firms, in contrast, are required to provide anti-harassment coaching.

“It is not a victim-friendly process. It is an institution-protection process,” Speier recently told The particular Washington Post. “I think we would find that sexual harassment is rampant in the institution. But no one wants to know, because they’d have to do something about it.”

Employees may file lawsuits against perpetrators yet only after going through months associated with counseling and mediation. In contrast, mediation is an option, not a requirement, regarding executive-branch employees.

And whenever settlements are made, they come out of an unique U. S. treasury fund instead of an office’s funds, a necessity in other federal agencies. The congressional Office of Compliance, the company tasked with offering sexual nuisance training when requested, sent a message Friday morning reminding congressional workplaces to prioritize taking its intimate harassment training.

Since the #MeToo campaign has grown, lawmakers and lobbyists in statehouses across the country have followed it to draw attention to intimate harassment in their industry. In Ca, more than 140 women, including legislators and State Capitol staffers, authorized a letter calling it a “pervasive” problem in California politics plus urging women to speak upward about their experiences.

“There is nothing to fear in telling the truth, and it’s time to throw back the curtain on repulsive behavior that until now has thrived in the dark without consequences,” Speier said in her video clip message.

The Washington Article is examining workplace violations upon Capitol Hill and the process regarding reporting them. To contact a media reporter, please email michelle. lee@washpost. com,  elise. viebeck@washpost. com or kimberly. kindy@washpost. com.

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