Female Lawmakers Allege Harassment by Members of Congress

Several female U.S. lawmakers have begun publicly telling stories of sexual harassment they suffered in the House of Representatives by their male colleagues. Former Republican Rep. Mary Bono said she endured increasingly suggestive comments from a congressman, including a time when he told her he'd been thinking about her in the shower—while they were on the House floor. Former California Sen. Barbara Boxer described an incident at a hearing in the 1980s, when a male colleague had made a sexually suggestive comment during the hearing. “This is about power,” she said “That was an example of the way I think we were thought of... It’s hostile and embarrasses, and therefore could take away a person’s power." Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) said she was outright propositioned by a married man when she was a new member of Congress in her early thirties. “Despite trying to laugh it off and brush it aside, it would repeat. And I would avoid that member,” said Sanchez. “The problem is, as a member there’s no HR department you can go to, there’s nobody you can turn to. Ultimately they’re employed by their constituents.”