House to require training to prevent sexual harassment

Pauline Gross
November 15, 2017

- Scandalous accusations were made against members of Congress during a House hearing for sexual harassment on Capitol Hill on Tuesday after a Congresswoman testified that some members have exposed themselves to staffers and sexually assaulted some victims on the House floor.

"Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution. But that kind of situation - what are we doing here for women right now who are dealing with somebody like that?"

"I have had numerous meetings and phone calls with staff members, both present and former, women and men, who have been subjected to this inexcusable and often times illegal behavior", she told the House Administration Committee.

Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Virginia), a member of the committee that Speier was speaking to, shared a story she had heard of a congressman exposing himself to a female staffer after the staffer dropped materials off at his residence.

At the same hearing, Rep. Jackie Speier said there are two current lawmakers who have been involved in sexual harassment.

Until Ryan's announcement Tuesday, there was no requirement for sexual harassment training in the House of Representatives.

Like in many industries, sexual misconduct among lawmakers and staffers in Congress has been an open secret for years. One Republican has suggested that if elected, Moore should be expelled from the Senate.

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Between 1997 and 2014, a little known Congressional fund paid out $15.2 million to 235 people who made sexual harassment claims in Congress. The Senate just last week passed a resolution making sexual harassment training mandatory, not just for staffers and interns, but also for senators.

She did not name the lawmakers mentioned in her testimony, citing the non-disclosure agreements she wants to eliminate.

Several Democrats are sponsoring legislation that would change the way sexual harassment complaints are handled.

Speier added that staff members on Capitol Hill deserve to "be able to work in a hostile free work environment".

Speier told CNN's "New Day" earlier Tuesday that current policy dictates that individuals coming forward with harassment complaints have to go through a three-month process. "All they ask in return is that we fix our abusive system and hold perpetrators accountable".

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.

Other reports by GizPress

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