Sen. Claire McCaskill says that when she was a political intern in the mid-1970s she used to avoid elevators for fear of being sexually harassed in the confined spaces.
“When I was an intern I learned to avoid elevators, because elevators were when you were captured,” McCaskill told NBC News. “After one unfortunate incident in the elevator, I began taking the stairs everywhere I went in the state Capitol when I was there as a college student.”
The comments come one day after McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, revealed to reporters that she was sexually harassed “more than once” while working as an intern on Capitol Hill in the summer of 1974. McCaskill, who did not report the harassment at the time, declined to say if she was harassed by a fellow staffer or a lawmaker.
“I’m not going to comment as to details of it, but suffice it to say that it happened more than once from more than one person,” she said, per The Hill.
Last month, McCaskill also told NBC’s Meet The Press about how she was sexually harassed as a young lawmaker in the Missouri state legislature. She described an incident in which she asked a fellow lawmaker for advice on how to get a bill out of committee — and he responded by asking if she had “brought her knee pads.”
“It was shocking that he would make that joke to a colleague, even a very young colleague,” she said.
McCaskill is one of a number of female lawmakers who have recently shared stories of sexual misconduct in Washington.
Virginia Congresswoman Barbara Comstock told FOX 5 on Tuesday about a former Capitol Hill staffer who said a Congressman once exposed himself to her.
“A young staffer had been asked to go to a member’s residence to bring some documents and was greeted by a member in a towel who then brought her in and exposed himself and she left and she decided to quit the office and has moved on,” Comstock said.
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On Tuesday morning, House lawmakers held a congressional hearing on sexual harassment, during which several woman lawmakers testified about instances of sexual misconduct by lawmakers or staff.
Rep. Jackie Speier said she was aware of at least two current members of Congress who “have engaged in sexual harassment.” She did not name them.
After the hearing, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that there will now be mandatory anti-harassment and discrimination training for all House members and staff.
“Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution,” Ryan said in a statement. “Today’s hearing was another important step in our efforts to combat sexual harassment and ensure a safe workplace. I want to especially thank my colleagues who shared their stories.”