Transcript for Lawmaker introduces Congressional Sexual Harassment Training Act
They said, he's in his room. I was like, are you kidding me? That's his pattern of sexual predigs a. That's how he rolled. An explosion of stories. A lot of feelings I've been having about anxiety and not being honest. The guilt for not speaking up earlier. I have been slut-shamed. I have been harassed. I have been maligned. And you know what? I'm just like you. Literally hundreds of thousand os of people, men and women, talking about being a part of this unfortunate club. Those voices tarnishing and taking down powerful men. The fallout spreading from Hollywood to corporate America, the media and capitol hill. The chief of staff held my face, kissed me, and stuck his tongue in my mouth. It's time to throw back the curtain on the repulsive behavior that, until now, has thrived in the dark without consequences. The question now, whether this me, too, movement spark real change? I'm joined by the woman ho founded it a decade ago, tarana bur Burke. And rep Brenda Lawrence. Thank you both for joining us. Tarana, let me begin with you. You founded this a decade ago. Tths exploded. Why did it take off now? Do you think lit produce real change? Absolutely. I think it took off now obviously because of the magnitude of the names involved. In the current sexual harassment scandal. We have Hollywood actresses. Producers. We have television hosts. And so, people are going to pay attention because pop culture is now right in the center of the controversy. That's what is clearly we have seen. We saw your colleague, congresswoman Jackie Speier share her own story. Have you witnessed this during your tenure? And what difference will your legislation make? One of the things I found through my experience in private sector. Being an equal employment opportunity investigator. I investigated claims of sexual harassment. You have to set a tone. You have to establish a benchmark of zero tolerance. The we're making sexual Har rasment training option nal, then, what are we saying as an organization? We require all federal employees, it's mandatory. But on the hill and the capitol, it's option nal. There are some people who actually believe what I'm doing is okay. What the training does is says, it's not okay. That you, if you feel like you have been sexually harassed, you do have a process to go through. One of the things my colleagues, kopgwoman spears have said, is that we need to look that process. It's not one that -- allows a person who feels like they've been sexually harassed to have a responsive and proactive response. You see this. You know this from your work in corporate America. Women are afraid to come forward. We have heard from so many. Including one called in to "Gma" after the ash hi Judd. This guy controls my schedule. If I don't make any money, I don't feed my kids. I have no face in this. I have no name. You know about me. I'm still skab scared that he's going to find out or someone's going the find out that I've said something and then I lose my job. And I can't lose my job. That's gotta be the biggest obstacle. It is. This is about power and privilege. Sexual violence is about power. Sexual harassment abis about the intersection of power and privilege. There's always a question about why don't women come forward? People's livelihoods and lives are at stake. Do you deal with this uncomfortable thing that dereduces my dignity or do I feed my children? The white house was asked about this. Let's show that. Obviously, sexual harassment has been in the news. At least 16 women accused the president of sexually harassing them throughout the course of the campaign. Last week, the president called these accusations fake news. Is the special white house position that all these women are lying? Yeah, we've been clear on that from the beginning. The president has spoken on it. John? All these women are lying, according the the white house. I think a lot of people have questioned. You see so many men fall. The president elected after all these revelations were known. The good thing about me too is the sense of awareness. It's giving reassurance and comfort to women to speak out. It's going to be on the back of women and those who are sexually harassed to stop it. Because as long as we are silent, it continues. And I -- I think it's -- it is very powerful. For the person who sits in the white house, to have behavior that he has admitted and it's been documented, that is clearly sexual harassment. That is unacceptable behavior. And we're going to have to step up. I'm so proud of the me too movement. Was it's a shame. Because this has been going on for years. It takes high-profile women to bring attention to this. Because what about the woman in the fast food restaurant? Ho the only way she can feed her children. It's that job or starvation for her family. And they're being subjected to this, as well. What is the most important thing to happen now. A couple of things have to happen. We have to have stronger legislation and policy. Those things have to be enforced. We have to have ally-ship. It's on the backs of women. But it's on the backs of men. Men have to stand up. When you see something, say something. It's everyone's responsibility. Thank you both very much.
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