Courtesy of Dana Townsend

Deep flaws and double standards

Congresswoman resigns while accused sex offenders keep seats

Women in power are being scrutinized more severely than our own president. Enough is enough. 

Katie Hill, a former House representative of California, was forced to resign after allegations surfaced claiming Hill— a member of the LGBTQ+ community—engaged in a consensual relationship with a female campaign staffer, along with leaked photos corroborating the allegations.

Hill reportedly had over 700 intimate photos of her leaked to right-leaning news outlets—and Republican operatives—allegedly by an abusive ex-husband who engaged in a polyamorous relationship with Hill and the staffer. Hill did admit that she was in the wrong for having a consensual relationship with a staffer. Nonetheless, this does not condone the crimes committed against her.

Hill is a victim of revenge porn, which is not a federal law, but there is a law in California that states it is illegal to intentionally distribute private, consensual images depicting “the intimate body part or parts of another identifiable person” with the intent of causing “serious emotional distress, and the person depicted suffers that distress.”

She should not have to be the only one to deal with the consequences; however, the state law has limited jurisdiction and enforcement hinges on proving “malicious intent” on the part of the publisher, Daily Mail—not Hill’s husband—which may be difficult to prove.

In her final defiant move against the U.S. government, Hill waited until she could put her impeachment vote before she resigned. During a final speech on the congressional floor, she railed against the double standard that forced her to resign and called out a misogynistic culture that let an abusive ex-husband to continue his abuse, now in front of the whole country. 

She also touched on the fact that there are men in office that are “credibly accused of sexual assault who are in boardrooms, in the Supreme Court and, worst of all, in the Oval Office.” 

We are going backward, and Hill is on the receiving end of this injustice. She’s a victim being pushed out of a position of power when men of higher status are allowed to have actual legal allegations against them but are still in their positions of power. 

Take Brett Kavanaugh, for instance, who was accused by four different women of sexual assault. Four! But did he have to resign? No, he was promoted and elected into the Supreme Court; even after a tumultuous confirmation process that involved testimony by one of the alleged victims. There have been myriad cases in which congressmen have been accused or have resigned from office after the #MeToo movement inspired their victims to come out.

It is jarring to see a woman forced to resign when literal predators are allowed to be in the highest levels of government. What is even more jarring is the $300,000 of taxpayer money has been used to pay off sexual harassment lawsuits against congressman since 2003; this is appalling.   

Trump is all for attacking women, not just sexually, but also through executive action. In 2017, Trump issued interim rules that could have restricted access to birth control for hundreds of thousands of women; thankfully, this was blocked by the courts, striking down rules that would have allowed employers to claim religious or moral objection in order to deny women coverage for contraception. 

Also that year, Trump’s Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy expanded the Global Gag Rule. This severely impacted STD screening and access to hygiene products on a large scale. Additionally, earlier this year, Trump furthered the Global Gag Rule by restricting the “gagged” organizations from using any funds that might go toward abortion services regardless if they actually provide the service or just have information on the procedure.

The Trump regime is here to terrorize women and scare them out of government. However, Hill doesn’t want this “experience [to] scare off other women.” She wants women “to overcome this setback [and] for women to keep showing up, to keep running for office, to keep stepping up as leaders.” 

That is exactly what we need to do.