The latest sexual harassment controversy on Capitol Hill is coming from a woman Democratic lawmaker, who recently seemed to suggest that women themselves are inviting the harassment with the clothes they wear.
At a private Democratic caucus meeting this morning, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) reportedly chastised her fellow women Congress members and staffers for wearing “revealing” clothing, according to a report by Politico’s Heather Caygle.
“I saw a member yesterday with her cleavage so deep it was down to the floor,” Kaptur said, sources present told Politico. “And what I’ve seen … it's really an invitation.”
Kaptur, 71, added that women working on Capitol Hill should take prompts from the military or private corporations when choosing their outfits.
“Maybe I’ll get booed for saying this, but many companies and the military [have] a dress code,” she said. “I have been appalled at some of the dress of ... members and staff. Men have to wear ties and suits.”
Kaptur’s comments reportedly left her colleagues in the room “stunned,” some people so much that their mouths fell open.
In a statement provided to Politico, Kaptur later apologized for her comments.
“When I was first elected to Congress my office and I became a refuge for female staffers who had been mistreated by their bosses. Some of them in tears many days. It is something I carry with me to this day and something I brought up during our Caucus meeting," she said. "Under no circumstances is it the victim's fault if they are harassed in any way. I shared the stories from my time here in the context of the ‘Me Too’ legislation and how we can elevate the decorum and the dress code to protect women from what is a pervasive problem here and in society at large.”
Earlier this year, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan relaxed the dress code in the House of Representatives after some women complained they were being barred from certain events or press conferences for wearing sleeveless dresses.