winter is coming
During a House Administration Committee hearing Tuesday regarding congressional policies on sexual harassment, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said that two current congressmen — one Republican and one Democrat — had sexually harassed congressional staffers. Speier listed additional instances of alleged harassment by lawmakers that included groping, unwanted exposure, and in one case, a member asking a female staffer, "Are you going to be a good girl?"
Speier spoke on behalf of the victims, saying, "All they ask ... is to be able to work in a hostile-free work environment. They want the system fixed and the perpetrators held accountable."
In a follow-up interview with MSNBC, Speier explained the labyrinthine process victims of sexual harassment must undergo when reporting an incident related to Congress, which includes enduring one month of legal counseling, signing a nondisclosure agreement, going through another month of mediation, and then taking a month-long cooling off process before filing a formal sexual harassment complaint.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced the House would introduce mandatory sexual harassment training, though he did not yet offer details about the new policy. Last week, Speier and two other representatives co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that would call for mandatory training; the California congresswoman also plans to introduce a bill to reform the congressional complaint process for sexual harassment.