Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said on Tuesday that at least two of her colleagues in the United States House of Representatives have committed sexual harassment or assault.
Speier did not name the congressmen—identified as a Democrat and a Republican, both of whom are currently serving in Congress—but did detail the transgressions they stand accused of committing during a hearing about sexual harassment before the House Administration Committee.
“These harassment propositions, such as, ‘are you going to be a good girl,’ to perpetrators exposing their genitals, to victims having their private parts grabbed on the House floor,” she said. “All they ask in return as staff members is to be able to work in a hostile-free work environment. They want the system fixed and the perpetrators held accountable.”
Rep. Speier: Hill staffers & victims of sexual harassment have had their 'private parts grabbed on the House floor.' https://t.co/vMRrNKSIpp
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 14, 2017
Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), who sits on the House Administration Committee, said she also heard of a sitting member of the House who exposed himself to a young staffer.
“This member asked a staffer to bring them over some materials to their residence. And a young staffer?it was a young woman?went there and was greeted with a member in a towel. It was a male, who then invited her in,” Comstock said, according to HuffPo. “At that point, he decided to expose himself. She left, and then she quit her job.”
Although Speier has been an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, leading the charge against revenge porn in Congress and sharing her #MeToo story in a video posted online, she also said female lawmakers could not be victimized by a colleague because they hold the same power.
“I think the women in Congress are big girls,” she said. “The equalizer that exists in Congress that doesn’t exist in other settings is that we all get paid the same amount and we all have a vote, the same vote. So if you have members that are demeaning you it’s because you’re letting them.”
Speier joined four other current and former members of Congress—former Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.), former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif), and former Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.)—in sharing their #MeToo stories about sexual harassment and assault.
“This is about power,” Boxer said of a male colleague making a sexual comment to her. “That was an example of the way I think we were thought of, a lot of us… It’s hostile and embarrasses, and therefore could take away a person’s power.”