After women stepped forward to tell their stories of how they had been sexually abused and harassed by members of Congress, it didn’t take long for political leaders from both sides of the aisle to talk about how serious this all was.
But when the rules and regulations surrounding sexual assault allegations in Congress were finally made public, revealing all the ways that women are forced into silence, it became very clear that talk is cheap — and that neither of the two parties that rule in Washington are prepared to act with seriousness about sexual assault.
Confidentiality agreements that prevent women from speaking in public, a process that bars women from getting co-workers to corroborate evidence, secret settlements paid out of the federal treasury — all are part of a process where sexual assault claims never see the light of day, remaining confined to a rigged in-house system, with rules that Congress made up for itself.
Thanks to the #MeToo movement that began with women in the entertainment industry revealing producer Harvey Weinstein to be a sexual predator, accusations against men in positions of power are at least being taken seriously, including in Washington.
In politics, the spotlight has fallen mainly on Roy Moore, the bible-thumping Republican running for a crucial Senate seat from Alabama, and liberal favorite Al Franken, the senator from Minnesota.
When it was revealed that Moore had sexually assaulted and harassed women and girls who were teenagers at the time, some top Republicans called on Moore to step down as a Senate candidate — but plenty of others, including …read more