CBS Sacramento - 10.19.2017

CBS Sacramento.jpg

We Said Enough: Lobbyists Launch Movement In Response To Reports Of Sexual Harassment At Capitol [article]

October 19, 2017 10:00 PM
By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — New claims of sexual harassment continue to rattle the state Capitol.

More women in politics are coming forward with disturbing accusations. They’re a few of California’s most powerful female lobbyists, making headlines from coast to coast for calling out sexual harassment in the highest levels of state government.

“We shouldn’t be ashamed about this,” said Adama Iwu.

Adama Iwu, a lobbyist for Visa, was inspired by the women who came forward with stories of sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein, and those using the “me too” hashtag. She penned a detailed letter, published in the Los Angeles Times, about her own ordeal.

“A colleague who had too much to drink came up to me and just was obnoxious… I finally push him away, and look at my other colleagues and said, how did you miss that?” she said.

More than 140 women signed on to the op-ed, with one message:

“We’re done with it,” said Iwu.

Now hundreds of other government employees, from legislators to staffers are breaking their silence too, from California to Washington D.C., sparking a new movement, “we said enough,” and a website where victims are encouraged to share their stories anonymously, and without naming names.

“There very well would be political and career ramifications for women who did that at this time,” said Samantha Corbin.

Samantha Corbin runs a Sacramento lobbying firm. She says her focus now is changing the culture at the Capitol.

And that starts when women can complain confidentially without fear of retaliation; being demoted or, in many cases, blacklisted. And, she says, when the right people are held accountable.

“Particularly as men are allowed to remain in their positions after being repeat offenders. You certainly don’t want to repeat a conservation with someone who’s sexually harassed you,” she said.

Danielle Kando-Kaiser