Four Democratic senators shared experiences of sexual harassment on Sunday’s “Meet The Press” with NBC News host Chuck Todd, joining many other women who have shared their stories online after revelations of movie mogul and Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein’s decades-long pattern of alleged rape and sexual abuse.
Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii spoke on “Meet The Press.”
“I’ve been propositioned by teachers, by my colleagues, you name it,” Hirono said in a special video segment. Heitkamp relayed a story from her time as North Dakota’s attorney general in the 1990s, when a law enforcement officer told her “‘Listen here. Men will always beat there wives, and there’s nothing you can do to stop them.'”
Warren relayed a harrowing story of attempted assault from early in her career as a “baby law professor.”
“There was a senior faculty member who would tell dirty jokes and make comments about my appearance” Warren said. She visited his office once, and he slammed the door and began to reach for her.
“It was like a bad cartoon. He’s chasing me around the desk trying to get his hands on me,” Warren said.
She evaded him and left his office quickly, but the experience deeply affected her. “I went back to my office, and just sat and shook,” Warren said. She worried about what she had done wrong to bring the situation upon her.
“I told my best friend about it, never said a word to anyone else. For a long time, I wore a lot of brown,” Warren said.
As a young legislator in the Missouri house of representatives, McCaskill sought advice from an older male colleague on how to get her first piece of legislation out of committee and on to the floor for a vote.
“I cautiously approached the very powerful speaker of the Missouri house of representatives,” McCaskill said. “Did he if he had any advice for me on how I could get it out of committee. And he looked at me, and he paused, and he said, ‘Well, did you bring your knee pads?'”
“I do think he was joking,” McCaskill said later in the video, “but it was shocking that he would make that joke to a colleague, even a young colleague.”
In response to the allegations against Weinstein, Warren promised to donate $5,000 — the amount Weinstein contributed to her 2012 Senate campaign — to charity. Many other Democrats have donated the money they’ve received from Weinstein over the years to charity, seeking to distance themselves from the movie producer’s long history of abuse.
“Meet The Press” reached out to all 21 female members of the Senate, asking them to share experiences.
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