Congresswoman recalls being sexually assaulted by chief of staff twice her age

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

United States Representative Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, has joined the #MeToo movement, revealing in a video posted Friday morning that she had been sexually assaulted by a chief of staff when she was a young congressional staffer.

The man in question has been confirmed to be the late Joe Holsinger, who served as chief of staff for former U.S. Representative Leo Ryan of California. Speier said that Holsinger, then around 50, “kissed me and stuck his tongue in my mouth.” She was in her mid-20s at the time. Holsinger died in 2004.

In her video, Speier claimed that many in Congress could relate to her story because “Congress has been a breeding ground for a hostile work environment for far too long.”

Speier has also announced that she would begin promoting the hashtag #MeTooCongress, a reference to the #MeToo movement, to encourage women working in politics to speak out against harassment and “throw back the curtain on the repulsive behavior that until now has thrived in the dark without consequences.”

Speier’s recent announcement isn’t the first time she’s tried to combat sexual harassment in politics. In 2014, Speier introduced a resolution that would have made sexual harassment training required for House members, as well as an amendment to the House appropriations bill that would have allotted $500,000 to the Congressional Office of Compliance for sexual harassment training. The resolution was never brought to a vote, and her amendment was later removed from the appropriations bill by the Senate. A similar resolution that would require all congressional offices to perform sexual harassment prevention training was introduced Friday by U.S. Representative Brenda Lawrence of Michigan.

Watch Speier’s story of harassment below.

Read the full story at ABC News.


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