Female Lawmakers Say At Least Two In Congress Have Committed Sexual Harassment

Female Lawmakers Say At Least Two In Congress Have Committed Sexual Harassment

Female Lawmakers Say At Least Two In Congress Have Committed Sexual Harassment

"They want the system fixed and the perpetrators held accountable", she said.

Comstock - who worked on Capitol Hill as a staffer early in her career and served in the Virginia House of Delegates before being elected to represent Northern Virginia's 10th District a year ago - said Congress needs more training and stronger safeguards in place to ensure women don't have to give up their careers to escape sexually aggressive behavior. "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".

Speier said, "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". The review came in response to the increased attention that has been placed on sexual abuse in workplaces big and small across the country.

During the hearing, Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), a member of the House Administration Committee, retold an unconfirmed story she heard about a lawmaker exposing himself to a female aide who was asked to deliver materials to a male member of Congress.

In order to fix the problem, members called for mandatory in-person sexual harassment training and a regular climate survey of members and staff. "And especially in Congress", said the panel's chairman, Gregg Harper. However, Gloria Lett, counsel at the Office of House Employment, who testified at Tuesday's hearing, said that she believed in the process and thought it worked "very effectively".

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She said that when she was just starting her career in politics, the chief of staff in her office sexually assaulted her.

Later this week, Speier will also introduce legislation to overhaul the process that victims of harassment undergo when they file complaints to the Office of Compliance, which she has called "toothless" and says is created to protect harassers and not the harassed. Then, she said, they are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement before moving on to mediation.

"Leadership within each office is also important, and letting the employees know where they can go to complain is vitally important", Childs Wallace told lawmakers.

"Is it any wonder that many staffers never file formal complaints?"

Addressing the issue will be complex and "at times uncomfortable", Speier said, as she applauded colleagues from both parties for supporting efforts to mandate sexual harassment training.

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