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Experts Say Sexual Harassment Reporting Should Remain Anonymous

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio

Updated 2 p.m. Dec. 11 

More anonymous female staffers at the state Capitol have come forward to say they have been sexually harassed and groped by male lawmakers.

Advocates say it’s important that these women be allowed to remain anonymous while reporting sexual misconduct at the Capitol.

The Daily Beast first reported accounts of sexual harassment, groping and — in some cases — sexual assault made by anonymous female staffers working at the state Capitol, including listing the names of some of the lawmakers being accused.

Ted Rutherford, with the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, said when victims go public with their accusations they run the risk of no one believing their story, or they’re blamed for what happened.

“People want to talk about evidence versus lack of evidence, and often times in cases of harassment there’s not going to be evidence; there’s not going to be physical evidence,” he said. “It ends up being one person’s word against another, and, unfortunately, in our society we end up taking the side of perpetrator.”

But Rutherford added there’s also a pattern with the same male lawmaker or Capitol staffer, and that’s why he says it’s so important for the Legislature to update all policies concerning sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, which allows for more anonymous reporting.   

Ryan Poppe can be reached at rpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter @RyanPoppe1

CORRECTION: The Daily Beast first reported the story Nov. 7.