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Congresswoman warns of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill
14 November 2017, 09:17 | Glen Norman
Congresswomen Allege Sexual Harassment by Lawmakers
Stories of sexual harassment and gender hostility are continuing to come to light in various industries, including entertainment and politics.
"In fact, there are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, right now, who serve, who have been subject to review or not have been subject to review, but have engaged in sexual harassment", Speier said in remarks during a House Administration committee hearing on Capitol Hill harassment policies.
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 previous year - 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. "They want the system fixed and the perpetrators held accountable".
Speier participated in the #MeToo campaign in October, launching a congressional version of the social media movement, in which women described their experiences with sexual harassment. As Republicans distance themselves from Moore, lawmakers in the House and Senate are working to address sexual misconduct in the Congressional workplace.
"This type of behavior can not be tolerated", said Republican Chairman Gregg Harper of MS at the close of the hearing.
Speier has introduced legislation to require annual sexual harassment awareness training for lawmakers and staff, who would have to file a certificate of completion with the House Ethics Committee.
A Republican congresswoman said Tuesday she was told recently by a trusted source that a member of Congress exposed himself to a staffer. "And a young staffer ― it was a young woman ― went there and was greeted with a member in a towel".
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Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., said at a House hearing on preventing sexual harassment on Capitol Hill that she was told about a staffer who quit her job after a lawmaker asked her to bring work material to his house, then exposed himself.
"What are we doing for women right now who are dealing with somebody like that?" she asked. Shortly afterward House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., sent a memo to fellow lawmakers encouraging them to complete sexual harassment training and make it mandatory for their staffs. The Senate passed a resolution last week mandating such training for members and aides.
The lawmaker said that now, if a victim of harassment were to report to the compliance office, they would first be required to undergo mandatory counseling for 30 days.
"Is it any wonder that many staffers never file formal complaints?"
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