PHOENIX (KSAZ) - For the past week, women have been sharing their stories of sexual harassment and abuse on social media, using the hashtag #metoo. On Friday, a Republican member of Arizona's House of Representatives shared her story of harassment.
State Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita said she was sexual harassed by her male colleagues throughout her four terms. In addition to her role as a state legislator, Ugenti-Rita is a mother of three, and a commercial real-estate agent.
State Rep. Ugenti-Rita describes the behavior of some of her fellow house members towards her as "aggressive and brazen'. The Scottsdale legislator posted her thoughts and experiences on her Facebook page Friday morning
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State Rep. Ugenti-Rita said she decided to go public with her experiences now, in an effort to encourage others to come forward about their own stories of sexual harassment in the workplace, and to encourage leaders of both chambers to address sexual harassment at the capitol.
State Rep. Ugenti-Rita did not return our calls today.
Arizona Speaker of the House JD Mesnar was in Tucson, and issued a statement that reads:
"Workplaces in every sector need to be vigilant in combating sexual harassment, but government should be held to the very highest standard, and I'm deeply concerned to hear reports that a colleague experienced sexual harassment when she first entered the House. This is an issue that needs to be confronted head-on, and this discussion is a necessary first step in addressing it."