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Paul Ryan Announces That US House Will Mandate Sexual Harassment Training

Paul Ryan Announces That US House Will Mandate Sexual Harassment Training

The Democrat from California recently introduced legislation to make training to prevent sexual harassment mandatory for members of Congress after sharing her own story of being sexually assaulted by a male chief of staff.

"Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution", Speaker Paul Ryan said. With few exceptions, every person said they have personally experienced sexual harassment on the Hill or know of others who have. "But that kind of situation - what are we doing here for women right now who are dealing with somebody like that?"

In order to fix the problem, members called for mandatory in-person sexual harassment training and a regular climate survey of members and staff.

"In fact, there are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, right now, who serve, who have been subject to review or not subject to review, who have engaged in sexual harassment", Speier said.

Last week the Senate passed a resolution requiring senators, staffers and interns to participate in mandatory sexual harassment training, as lawmakers and staff have grown increasingly outspoken about widespread predatory behavior on Capitol Hill.

Until Ryan's announcement Tuesday, there was no requirement for sexual harassment training in the House of Representatives.

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With a broadening national spotlight on sexual misconduct in Hollywood, the media and politics, Congress has begun to address the accusations of abuse and demands by more than 1,500 former staffers that comprehensive reforms be instituted.

One lawmaker, Republican Rodney Davis of IL, said that some female staffers in his office anxious that "some offices might take a shortcut and not hire women as a way to avoid these issues". Payouts to the victims were not financed by the people who engaged in sexual harassment but by taxpayers.

Congressional leaders said they are ready to order mandatory sexual harassment prevention training for all offices of the U.S. House, but there is no timetable for getting that done. However, Gloria Lett, counsel at the Office of House Employment, who testified at Tuesday's hearing, said that she believed in the process and thought it worked "very effectively".

Speier added that staff members on Capitol Hill deserve to "be able to work in a hostile free work environment".

Watch Speier's comments below, via ABC News. "They want the system fixed and the perpetrators held accountable".


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