Mass. lawmaker calls for mandatory training against sexual harassment at State House

November 22, 2017 05:45 PM

PITTSFIELD -- When it comes to sexual harassment, Massachusetts State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier says she doesn't know any woman who hasn't experienced it.

"Sexism begets sexual harassment. Certainly in government in the State House, there's a tremendous amount of sexism," Farley-Bouvier said.

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In the wake of a national conversation about accused film executive Harvey Weinstein and others in Hollywood, some women from the State House in Boston are talking. They spoke anonymously to the Boston Glove, detailing situations with lawmakers, how they were touched, massaged or pressed for sex.

"Of course it's infuriating to read those stories and the details in those stories and the pain behind those stories. But it wasn't a surprise to me," said Farley-Bouvier.

Farley-Bouvier is the chair of the Women's Caucus Sexual Assault Working Group on Beacon Hill. She's heard some of those stories before.

"It's like a sacred responsibility to hear those and it's just critical that we take action," Farley-Bouvier said.

The house approved an order for a special group to review the house's sexual harassment policies. They have until March first to come up with some recommendations.

"What policies that we can put in place, whether they're rules changes within the legislature, policy changes or legislative changes," Farley-Bouvier added.

But the women's caucus is calling for immediate changes. They want training at the State House for all employees and an anonymous survey to understand the extent of the sexual harassment problem.

"It's my great hope that this will be our opportunity to have a significant cultural shift," she said. "It's my hope that we'll look back at 2017 and say can you believe that women were treated like this in the workplace?"


Dan Bazile

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