December 13, 2018

Congress Passes Congressional Sexual Harassment Reform

Significant progress is being made on Capitol Hill with respect to sexual harassment. Now taxpayers don’t have to pay for the indiscretions of their elected officials!

Members of Congress reached an agreement on overhauling how sexual harassment accusations against Congressional members are handled. The bipartisan agreement seeks to increase transparency and hold members more accountable for their actions.

Under the previous system, settlements in sexual harassment cases against members of Congress were paid out of taxpayer-funded accounts. According to PBS, “Nearly $300,000 in taxpayer funds has been spent to settle 13 claims against members of Congress or their offices since 2003 that include sexual harassment or sex discrimination.” No taxpayer should be forced to pay for a Congressman’s offenses.With the new reforms, Congressmen will have to pay for settlements out-of-pocket.

The new rules also provide legal assistance for House and Senate staffers who file complaints. This is crucially important. The #MeToo movement showed many cases of sexual harassment go unreported. One unreported case is one too many. These new rules should empower staffers to speak out against sexual harassment.

With the rise of the #MeToo movement, nine members of Congress were forced out of office due to sexual harassment claims. These reforms are a great step forward in ensuring staffers are empowered to report these abuses of power. Also, it removes Congress’ special privilege of forcing taxpayers to pay for their misdeeds.

 

Ben Miller

Digital Strategies Coordinator

Ben joined the National Center on Sexual Exploitation as Digital Strategies Coordinator in July of 2018. As Digital Strategies Coordinator, Ben raises awareness for issues of sexual exploitation through digital media, email marketing, and website development. He works to create a community of activists who are enthusiastic about combating sexual exploitation and changing culture.

Ben earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He graduated with Honors in the Liberal Arts and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. During his college career, Ben spent a semester studying in Washington, D.C. and interned for a member of Congress. On campus, he actively sought to change Greek culture, especially with respect to sexual exploitation, through his membership in Phi Kappa Theta fraternity. Ben also supported his peers who were afflicted by the harms of pornography through a weekly men’s purity group.

Ben’s deep commitment to fighting sexual exploitation was ignited in part by the work done by NCOSE. While writing a research literature review for a public policy class in college, he came across Porn Harms Research and the initiatives being carried out by NCOSE. Ben, a strong anti-pornography activist at the time, began to learn more about the connections between all forms of exploitation and how prominent these issues are in today’s society. He devoted himself to raising awareness about the web of sexual exploitation and is deeply grateful for the work NCOSE has done on these issues. Ben is excited to be a part of the team at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and to contribute to this important cause.

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