Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao admitted Tuesday that she has a sexual harassment experience, but chose not to tell her story because she didn’t want to “revisit” bad memories.
Chao, speaking at Politico’s Fifth Annual Women Rule Summit, said past stories of sexual harassment were common for most women after a Politico editor asked Chao if she had a “#MeToo” story to share.
“Of course. I think that’s the dirty little secret that a lot of women have held for a long time. Many of us, especially in the years past, have experienced it. But the environment was very different. The person is still here and they’re still around,” Chao said.
The #MeToo movement, started by a black woman 10 years ago to give survivors of sexual harassment and assault a space to share their stories, took off once again in light of numerous sexual harassment allegations against men in power over the past few months. Chao refused to name the person who harassed her, calling on women to “let go” of their stories in order to better heal from their experiences.
“You will go through difficulties in your life and I hope you will all triumph. And when you triumph, you need to help others along the way,” Chao said. “But you must also have magnanimity of spirit. Things change. Times change. And it’s not worth my while to go back and revisit those negative moments. I will fight for other women and I will stand up for other women, but of your own, you have to let it go. Because otherwise it’s too corrosive, it’s too negative and it does you double injury because it holds you back.”
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