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New allegations show sexual harassment in government

Sexual harassment may be getting more attention in the national media of the United States recently, but it is far from a recent problem. Women and other populations have been facing pressure, discriminatory practices and physical abuse in workplaces and public spaces for decades and beyond.

Some new allegations of unacceptable sexualized behavior are coming from surprising places. California, a bastion of liberal progressive ideals, is the center of several industries shown to harbor harassing practices such as technology, entertainment and venture capitalism. Public service is now also being investigated for old and new transgressions.

Now, the state government in Sacramento is under the magnifying glass, with more than 140 women signing an open letter blasting dehumanizing behavior of female legislators, aides and lobbyists by male lawmakers and others in the capital. Allegations range from furtive glances to groping and inappropriate jokes.

Reactions to these charges and others have been met from beyond the Golden State. A former state senator in South Dakota took to Facebook to share her experiences with harassment. A Rhode Island state representative told a local newspaper, "I have been told sexual favors would allow my bills to go further," adding "it was someone who had a higher-ranking position."

Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace or elsewhere in public life make offenders and their employers liable to rectify the situation and provide restitution and safe work environments. An attorney may help identify mediation, negotiated settlements or court action opportunities to help victims recover their dignity and careers.

Source: CBS News, "California politician on sexual harassment: How do those with power fix the problem?," accessed Nov. 17, 2017

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