Congresswoman tells her own "MeToo" story, urges other to come forward on Capitol Hill

Credit: Jamie Dupree

Credit: Jamie Dupree

The recent rush of stories from women who say they were sexually harassed on the job by men in positions of power expanded to the U.S. Congress on Friday, as a veteran Democrat from California used a video to describe an incident from when she was a young Congressional staffer, urging others to come forward with their own stories, as she charged that Capitol Hill is a "breeding ground" for offensive sexual conduct in the workplace.

"Like so many of you, I have a "MeToo" story to share," said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), who has served on Capitol Hill both as a member of Congress since 2008, and as a Congressional staffer back in the 1970's.

"I was attacked as a congressional staffer, and I remember the fear and shame," Speier said calmly, looking directly into the camera, as she described how her office boss tried to take advantage of her.

"The Chief of Staff, held my face, kissed me, and stuck his tongue in my mouth," Speier said.

"So, I know what it's like to keep these things hidden, deep down inside."

"Congress has been a breeding ground for a hostile work environment for far too long," the California Democrat said matter of factly, as she called for current and former staffers to tell their stories.

"There is nothing to fear in telling the truth," Speier added in the video.

"And it's time to throw back the curtain on the repulsive behavior that until now, has thrived in the dark, without consequences," she said.

"It must stop," Speier wrote in a series of early morning tweets. "It's time 4 #MeTooCongress," adding a new hashtag to the "MeToo" campaign that has emerged in recent days.

In her video, Speier did not name her boss, or the office she worked in at the time, but she is well known for having been an employee of the late Rep. Leo Ryan (D-CA), who was shot and killed in the Jonestown Massacre in 1978 in Guyana.

Speier was with Ryan on that trip; she was shot five times and basically left for dead, somehow surviving after it took 22 hours for medical help to arrive.