State Senator From Maywood Says She Was Sexually Harassed By Legislator

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews 

According to a Chicago Sun-Times investigative report published on Oct. 24, more than 150 women have signed a letter “that describes harassment endured by elected officials, lobbyists, consultants and others in politics.”

In addition to the letter, a group of women in state politics have started a Facebook group called “Say No More” in the wake of sexual harassment allegations that have come out against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Misogyny is alive and well in Illinois politics,” a description of the group reads. “The #MeToo stories flooding our news feeds — penned by women in government, politics, and other adjacent fields — are proof that we have a long way to go. The time has come for us to take a stand, raise our voice, and #ILSayNoMore. This group is a space for those of us who are committed to demanding better.”

According to the Sun-Times report, “tales of sexual harassment — everything from comments about breasts and hips and legs to groping and propositions for sex — are rampant in the Capitol this week during the veto session as an open letter has opened the floodgates for women to speak out about their encounters.”

One of them, state Sen. Kimberly Lightford (4th), of Maywood, said that she has also experienced “inappropriate comments” in Springfield. She said that sexual harassment “happens in any workplace with a hierarchy,” the Sun-Times reports.

“I think that when you’re just around people who are in powerful positions, men and women alike, they think they can do that,” Lightford told the Sun-Times.

The senator said that when she first got to Springfield, a male legislator “would always say something about my legs. No matter what, he would say something about my legs. He would say something about something that was inappropriate.”

Read how Lightford responded in the full Sun-Times report here.

Since the stories of Weinstein’s sexual harassment have flooded the media in recent weeks, people have responded with their own accounts of sexual assault on social media.

Actress Alyssa Milano’s viral tweet on Oct. 15 has been among the most popular and spawned millions of hundreds of thousands of reactions.

Polly Poskin, the executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, told the State Journal-Register in Springfield that me too campaign is great, but hopes it helps victims of sexual harassment and assault get some kind of real-life justice.

“It’s hard to predict what the general public will push for and what legislative bodies will create,” Poskin said. “We continue to need the #metoo campaigns because we haven’t met that accountability yet.” VFP  

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