Credo Action

Tell Mitch McConnell: Fix Congress' broken system for reporting sexual harassment and assault

Sign the petition

The petition to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reads:

"Reform Congress' biased and broken system for reporting sexual harassment and assault. Call a vote on the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act now."

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    Tell Mitch McConnell: Fix Congress' broken system for reporting sexual harassment and assault

    Congress has a broken system of reporting sexual harassment and assault that seems designed to punish survivors and let perpetrators off the hook.

    The House passed bipartisan legislation to reform this biased system months ago, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is holding the bill hostage in the Senate.1 That is unacceptable.

    Speak out now to demand that Sen. McConnell immediately call a vote on the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act (CAA Reform Act).

    Tell Sen. McConnell: Fix Congress' broken system for reporting sexual harassment and assault.

    Right now, any congressional staffer who wants to report harassment or assault is subjected to a grueling and humiliating process that can take up to 6 months. Prior to requesting a hearing before the Office of Compliance board or taking their case to district court, survivors must undergo:2

    • Mandatory counseling
    • Mediation in which the survivor and their assailant meet to discuss what took place
    • A mandatory “cooling off” period of at least 30 days

    Some survivors choose to give up their case to avoid these outrageous demands.

    And it's not just the survivors who are punished. If survivors win a settlement, that settlement comes out of taxpayers' pockets and can remain secret. There's no real consequence for perpetrators, and they are relatively free to harass or assault again. That is unacceptable.

    Tell Sen. McConnell: Fix Congress' broken system for reporting sexual harassment and assault.

    The CAA Reform Act would streamline the reporting process, eliminate "cooling off periods" and mandatory mediation, make clear to survivors that they can go straight to district court to seek justice, remove confidentiality requirements, and prohibit members of Congress from using a discretionary fund paid for by taxes to pay settlements to survivors. Its reforms would not only fix an outdated and unfair system, but also expand protections for survivors of sexual assault and harassment in the face of a cruel and sexist administration that is trying to roll them back in schools and workplaces nationwide.

    All 22 woman senators – Democrats and Republicans – recently sent a letter to Sen. McConnell demanding that he take up the CAA Reform Act immediately.3 Their votes would block any attempt by Donald Trump's Senate lapdogs to stonewall the bill. If we can build enough pressure to force Sen. McConnell to call a vote on the CAA Reform Act, it could pass. Can you add your name now?

    Thanks for standing up for survivors.

    References:

    1. Katherine Tully-McManus, "Lawmakers Rekindle Efforts to End Harassment on Hill but Face Uncertain Future," Roll Call, April 4, 2018.
    2. Jane Coaston, "Congress needs a reckoning. Will this bill do it?" Vox, Feb. 6, 2018.
    3. Danielle Kurtzleben, "All 22 Women Senators Call For Senate To Address Sexual Harassment," NPR, March 28, 2018.