Black says she was sexually harassed as a state legislator

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, now a candidate for governor, says in a column written for Townhall that she suffered episodes of sexual harassment from “the good ol’ boy culture” while a state legislator years ago.

I remember my first year in the Tennessee House of Representatives. It was 1998, and having spent my career as a nurse and an educator, I had a lot to learn about the legislative process. I immediately figured out that the state House had a “good ol’ boy” culture – and learned about the inappropriate actions of some of my male colleagues.

One member always seemed to manage to get on the elevator with me, and proceed to back up until I was against the wall and he was pressed against me. I learned fairly quickly to cross my arms with my elbows out so they dug into his back. Another member rarely called me by name and addressed me only as “Nurse Goodbody.”  It was objectifying, disrespectful and highly inappropriate for any work setting.

In 2009, while I was Senate Caucus Chairman of the Tennessee state legislature, I called on one state senator, in my own party, to resign after learning of his affair with an intern. I firmly believe now what I believed then: as elected officials, we are public servants and must be held to the highest of standards.

… It has come to light that over the past 20 years, nearly $17 million has been paid out by the Congress’s Office of Compliance in various legal settlements, including discrimination and sexual harassment complaints. Using taxpayer dollars to settle those claims behind closed doors is despicable and serves to protect perpetrators while silencing victims.

…When I found out about these funds and payouts, I was extremely disturbed and joined my House colleagues in a bipartisan effort to bring transparency to allegations of sexual misconduct occurring on Capitol Hill.

The Congressional Accountability and Hush Fund Elimination Act, of which I am a co-sponsor, explicitly prohibits the future use of tax dollars to pay settlements in these cases. It publicly exposes perpetrators and requires them to reimburse taxpayers with interest for the funds they have used to settle claims.

8 Responses to Black says she was sexually harassed as a state legislator

  • Misty Partner says:

    Lady, come on. It’s too early in the campaign to play the victim card.

  • Colonel Jackson says:

    Yet you support President Trump unequivocally despite his multiple accusers, his own admission that he grabs women by the p**** and his bragging to Howard Stern about going back stage at Miss Teen USA to watch the young girls undress. How do you explain that Rep. Black?

  • Linda says:

    Dems have no right to question any Republican about sexual misbehavior after what Bill Clinton did and, word is, still does!

  • Pamela DeMatteo-Linn says:

    I heard a commentator say it is time to bring the ERA back into the conversation. This sexual harassment will not stop until women have equal rights. I think she is right. Maybe congresswoman Black will sponsor?

  • R Brown says:

    Diane Black should name the men. Why keep this quiet? What other women have suffered due to Diane Black’s silence?

  • Kay White says:

    I would object to this type action by anyone but I agree with Diane that those who are elected should be held to a higher standard. Most people with ANY common sense should know that once you are elected, your life is an open book and you will be watched. I, like many women, believe that there was a time, not long ago when women were afraid to speak out for fear of losing a job, not being believed or being viewed as the one who caused this action against them. When I was about 46 and worked at a Jewelry Store in J.City, in the mall, the owner came over to me when another lady and I were getting the jewelry out to put in the safe and asked me when we could have lunch alone. I promptly told him that he was a married man and that I was not interested. The next morning, I was told that I could resign or be fired but that it was best to resign so that it did not hurt my opportunities to get another job. I had become a single mother the year before and I had to have a job to help keep supporting my children. Another woman who saw this happen still mentions it to me on occasion when I see her. She told me that he did this to at least two other employees! Fear of those in power or of those with money has taught me a great lesson and that is NO ONE, regardless of the oppressor’s status should ever remain silent. Those people doing this type thing to anyone are scum, egotistical and in my opinion lowlifes who need to be exposed. The only thing left to say would be, Diane, if they are still in public service, you would be doing the people a disservice not to give their names!

  • R Brown says:

    Why should Black only name those she claims sexually harassed her if they are still in public service?
    Name them if they have left. Otherwise this is just a publicity stunt because she is doesn’t want to be held accountable of not knowing about the secret $17 million hush fund that she and her buddies set up. How does the Chair of the House Budget Committee NOT know?

  • Kay White says:

    I agree and I apologize, she should name everyone who has harassed her in or out of office. My statement intent was to make the people aware of those in office representing them in office so that they people would not make that mistake again and allow them to stay as their representatives. But you are right, anyone taking advantage of their position should be exposed, even if they are now retired. They should suffer the shame and apologize to the victim and get forgiveness from their families and God.

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