Sexual harassment in Congress

CREDO action
A congressman said what to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand?

To the men serving in the House and Senate:
"The comments some congressmen and senators have made to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are outrageous. If you are someone who makes sexist comments to women colleagues and staff: Stop. If you witness a colleague making comments that could be considered sexual harassment: Stand up and speak out."

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Dear 5849376,

"You know, Kirsten, you're even pretty when you're fat."

"Good thing you're working out, because you wouldn't want to get porky!"

"Don't lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby."

These are among some of the incredibly sexist comments New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand reports in an upcoming memoir that she has had to endure as a member of Congress.1

Tell male members of Congress: The culture of misogyny at the U.S. Capitol is unacceptable. If you are making sexist comments stop. If you witness a colleague making sexist comments stand up and speak out.

You may know Senator Gillibrand as the champion of legislation to address the epidemic of rape in the military and hold service members guilty of sexual assault accountable for their actions. Her bill has been blocked by senators of both parties -- this culture of misogyny in Congress may point to one of the reasons why.

While Congress has approved legislation to fund sexual harassment training on Capitol Hill for politicians as well as staffers, training isn't even mandatory!

We already knew that there was a War on Women in Washington, D.C. with bills to redefine rape, defund Planned Parenthood, and block equal pay for equal work just to name a few. But the fact that elected members of Congress feel like they have free rein to make body shaming and sexually suggestive comments to a female colleague in the halls of the Capitol makes it clear just how misogynistic and out of touch some of our lawmakers -- of both parties -- are.

Tell male members of Congress: The culture of misogyny at the U.S. Capitol is unacceptable. If you are making sexist comments stop. If you witness a colleague making sexist comments stand up and speak out.

Every male member of Congress has a role to play. Those who make sexually harassing comments must stop. And the men who witness sexist comments -- either in the presence of women or in the many all-male gatherings they find themselves in on Capitol Hill -- must speak out.

Thank you for standing up for women's rights.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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  1. "Senator Says Her Male Colleagues Called Her 'Porky' And 'Chubby'," Think Progress, August 27, 2014

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