Female US Lawmakers Claim Sexual Harassment, Decline to Name Harassers
A number of female members of Congress told the Associated Press on Friday that they had been sexually harassed by male colleagues in incidents that occurred years or even decades ago. They declined to identify the men responsible.
"When I was a very new member of Congress in my early 30s, there was a more senior member who outright propositioned me, who was married, and despite trying to laugh it off and brush it aside, it would repeat. And I would avoid that member," Rep. Linda Sanchez told the news organization.
Sanchez said a different male colleague stared at her once and, she said, touched her inappropriately, but tried to make it appear accidental. Sanchez refused to name either man because she said she doesn't "think it would be helpful."
"The problem is, as a member there's no HR (human resources) department you can go to, there's nobody you can turn to. Ultimately they're employed by their constituents," she said.
Another congresswoman, Mary Bono, told the AP a male colleague told her he'd been thinking about her in the shower. Bono said she confronted the colleague and he didn't make any more suggestive comments.
"It is a man's world, it's still a man's world," Bono said. "Not being a flirt and not being a bitch. That was my rule, to try to walk that fine line."
She declined to name the colleague, but said he is still serving in Congress.
Former Rep. Hilda Solis said she received from a male colleague what the AP referred to as "repeated unwanted harassing overtures." She, too, declined to name the colleague or detail exactly what those overtures included.
"It's humiliating, even though they may have thought they were being cute. No, it's not. It's not appropriate. I'm your colleague, but he doesn't see me that way, and that's a problem," Solis said.
Bodies of US Soldiers Killed in Niger Were Found Bloodied, Stripped
A Nigerien man who says he found three of the four U.S. soldiers killed in Niger last month says the bodies were bloodied and stripped of their uniforms.
Adamou Boubacar told VOA's French to Africa service that he was the first to discover the bodies after the October 4 battle between U.S. special forces and the jihadist militants who ambushed them in the western Nigerien village of Tongo Tongo.
Boubacar, a resident of Tongo Tongo, said he was searching for his wife and children in nearby fields.
"When I came out of the village, I saw the bodies of the three white American soldiers. There was a lot of blood; you cannot imagine," he told the VOA Afrique program.
He says he found two soldiers in a vehicle and the other on the ground.
Asked whether the American soldiers were wearing their combat gear, Boubacar said one was naked and the others were in their underwear. He said all their weapons and equipment had been taken.
VOA asked the Pentagon on Friday to confirm the details. A Pentagon spokeswoman told VOA that an investigation is under way and that there would be no comment until all the facts have been gathered.
The U.S. military has identified the three soldiers found together on October 4 as Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, 29, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, 35, and Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, 39.
As for the fourth American soldier — Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, who was found two days later — Boubacar said it was children who discovered his body. "There must be at least two kilometers between where his body was found and the place where the attack took place," he said.