Speier: 'Time To Throw Back The Curtain' On Congressional Sexual Harassment

Screengrab via Jackie Speier  YouTube

Screengrab via Jackie Speier YouTube

"This happened so many decades ago, but I still remember it".

Speier told Politico she will introduce legislation next week calling for an overhaul of the Office of Compliance, where Capitol Hill staffers are expected to file harassment complaints.

In the wake of the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein and inspired by the women speaking up against sexual harassment on social media, Speier is encouraging others in Congress to share their stories with #MeTooCongress.

The congresswoman took to Twitter sharing a story about being attacked by a congressional staffer.

"Many of us in Congress know what it's like because Congress has been a breeding ground for a hostile work environment for far too long." she said in the video. "There is nothing to fear in telling the truth, and it's time to throw back the curtain on repulsive behavior that until now, has thrived in the dark without consequences". The current policies are "constructed to protect the institution - and to impede the victim from getting justice", she told Politico. Now there is no requirement for sexual harassment training - although each individual office may elect to voluntarily have their staff watch a sexual harassment training video offered by the Office of Compliance.

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Through the current system, government employees have to "go through hoops" in order to file a harassment complaint, Speier's office tells Bustle. The accuser must first engage in 30 days of counseling with a legal counselor in the OOC.

Speier's office described the current protocol for addressing sexual harassment to CNN.

"Like so many of you, I have a #MeToo story to share", she said on the video posted on YouTube.

Speier's legislation, which is still being finalized, aims to reform the reporting process hurdles as well and calls for a climate survey to analyze the scope of the sexual assault problem on Capitol Hill.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier has joined the #MeToo movement in hopes to get congresswomen in the conversation as well and have them speak out about their experiences. "She felt that it was time to break her own personal silence to make people feel like they're not alone; there's someone in Congress who's fighting on their behalf but also understood on a personal level".

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