Four Current and Former Female Lawmakers Recount Being Sexually Harassed in Congress

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If the hallowed halls of Congress could talk, they’d likely have myriad stories to tell about female lawmakers being subjected to hostile sexual remarks and harassment by their male colleagues. Now, one current and three former congresswomen have shared their stories of harassment with the Associated Press.

The incidents usually occurred when the women were newly elected to Congress, years or even decades ago. None of the women interviewed named the men they say harassed them or said they planned to lodge a formal complaint.

Former Senator Barbara Boxer, of California, recalled an incident during a hearing in the 1980s when a male colleague made a sexually suggestive comment, on the record. She said the remark was met with laughter from her colleagues, along with an approving second. Boxer later asked that it be removed from the record.

“This is about power,” she said. “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.”

She was far from alone. Current Representative Linda Sanchez told the AP that when she was a new member of Congress in her early 30s, a married, more senior male member “outright propositioned” her repeatedly. Sanchez said she learned to avoid that member of Congress and warned other women about him. The also said the congressman remains in office but declined to identify him, saying, “I just don’t think it would be helpful.”

“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,” Sanchez told the wire service.


The former California Representative Mary Bono also shared accusations against a man she said remains in Congress—which she said grew increasingly suggestive over years.

When the lawmaker finally approached her on the floor of the House and said he’d be thinking about Bono in the shower, she confronted him, telling him the remarks were demeaning and inappropriate. In response, Bono said the man, who she said still serves in Congress, backed off.


These women’s stories make clear that there’s no realm of power, no industry or sector of the professional world, where women are not subject to sexual harassment and abuse by their male colleagues.


  • Shocker: the Republican tax bill doesn’t contain those “major, major” tax cuts for the middle class that Trump was promising. As The New York Times reports:

... changes also include limits on, or the elimination of, what might be called tax breaks for middle-class aspirers. The bill would no longer allow Americans to deduct interest on student loans they took out to attend college. It would limit mortgage interest deductions to $500,000 on newly purchased homes, a provision that would hit middle-class teachers or office workers looking to buy starter houses in high-priced, economically vibrant areas such as New York City and Silicon Valley.”


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