It was mid-February when a 38-page report came out written by lawmakers, lobbyists, and staff members working in Maryland’s General Assembly that detailed graphic incidents of sexual harassment. There was a section in the report titled, “Silenced Voices” in which staff members provided their recounts of the times they were groped, ogled, and even singled out for sexual harassment while working in the state capital.
One woman described an account where she was working and a lawmaker came into her office, put his hands on her knees and slid his hands all the way up her skirt. Another woman described a time when she was given a ride home from a colleague after a legislative reception in Annapolis. Rather than take her home as he was supposed to, he pulled the car off the roadway, locked the doors, grabbed her breasts, and stuck his tongue in her ear, according to wtop.com. Luckily, she was able to unlock the doors, get out of the vehicle, and find her own way home.
One staffer claimed that a male legislator would describe the color and print on his boxers and talk repeatedly about his “junk” in her office. She mentioned that because she and her other colleagues work with people who are around the same age as them that “the line between friendly and professional is blurred.” She even went as far as comparing her work environment to that of a fraternity house.
The report included many other disturbing comments from women who wanted their stories heard but were too fearful of what might happen to their career if they were to reveal themselves. But, not all women in Annapolis, Maryland are afraid to come forward. In more recent news, it was recently reported that three Maryland delegates are speaking up about their accounts with sexual harassment and are now pushing for reform, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The news source has highlighted that the General Assembly is “weighing legislation to prevent and
handle it, including having an independent investigator review future complaints.” One of the women who has publicly come forward has been identified as Del. Angela Angel and she told the House Rules that she felt “defenseless” when she was “accosted” in front of other people and no one came to help her. Del. Marice Morales “said she has to “call out” colleagues who sexually harass her” because if she were to report the incident, it would require that she share these embarrassing encounters to people who have an influence over her political future. This is one of the primary reasons why many individuals never want to come forward with their allegations as they fear their harasser will retaliate against them and cause them to lose the job they worked so hard to obtain.
With more and more women stepping out into the light and not being afraid to reveal the realities of what is going on inside these government buildings, there is a good chance that there will be a change coming that will affect how sexual harassment cases are handled. Aside from people going public, the #metoo movement has done a tremendous job at recognizing the issue as being a serious one that is long overdue to be recognized.
If you are the victim of sexual misconduct, whether it occurred at work or in another environment, USAttorneys.com wants to help you get connected with a local Maryland sexual harassment attorney who will support you through this difficult time and help you make an informed decision on how you want to handle it.