The increase in numbers and the prominence of a few individual women, such as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, has not resulted in parity in all measures, nor eliminated the potential for male members to demean or even harass their female counterparts. Nonetheless, a few former female lawmakers contacted by The AP expressed surprise and even disbelief at the notion that lawmakers themselves could be victims of harassment.
Rep. Jackie Speier of California has recently gone public with an account of being sexually assaulted by a male chief of staff while she was a congressional staffer. She has criticized the vague rules in place on the issue and is preparing legislation to mandate sexual harassment training for congressional offices, among other changes. In a video posted to Twitter last week, she called Congress “a breeding ground for a hostile work environment” and encouraged others to come forward.