We demand more from our representatives.
by Ann Warner on Jun 20, 2018
Recently it was revealed that Rep. Jerry Govan (D-Orangeburg) was quietly cleared of a harassment allegation after a staffer complained of unwanted physical contact. Govan was one of three state House members accused of sexual misconduct in the past five years.
In the midst of the #MeToo movement, new data from Stop Street Harassment shows that eighty-one percent of U.S. women have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime. This study also goes on to show that women and men who experienced sexual harassment experienced it in multiple locations, including the workplace.
If South Carolina wants to reduce sexual harassment across the state, we must demand more from our leaders. We cannot continue to support leadership that opposes a culture of safety and accountability. We cannot continue to accept a patriarchal and abusive culture at the South Carolina Statehouse.
Our state deserves leadership that understands that consent and respect are not optional. In fact, they are the bare minimum. Seeing elected officials disregard these values sets a damaging and ill-considered example for community, one that confirms that predatory behavior rarely damages those in power.
It’s time we set a better example for our state. We must be vocal advocates in supporting smart policies for survivors, and speak up when we see unjust behavior and harassment from those around us and those who represent us. There are too many qualified candidates and leaders to justify the presence of one who demonstrates intolerable behavior.
Let’s stand for a South Carolina that protects those who call it home.