OP-ED: Misogyny and Rape Culture in the State House? Nay, Nay I Say

OP-ED by Representative Victoria Sullivan

There has been a lot of talk about alleged misogyny, and a systemic rape culture in the NH House of Representatives. As a sitting representative serving my second term, I have had a much, much different experience.

Many of the men at the State House have served their communities in other capacities. I am honored to serve with legislators from all walks of life. Some were teachers, firemen, policemen, doctors, and many have served our nation in the armed forces.

Attacking these men collectively is harmful to them, and their families. As a woman, I find these attacks vicious and without merit. I am always treated with respect by my colleagues. My opinion, not only matters, but is often sought out. Each of my votes holds equal value to the vote of every other individual in the State House.

You might ask why then, are a few women going to such great lengths in an effort to discredit them? I would suggest to you that it is in order to deflect from a situation that has arisen in regard to the conduct of a female democrat representative who is under an ethics review.

This representative has taken to Twitter on several occasions to mock, and make derogatory comments about fellow representatives, state senators, and even citizens that came before her committee to testify.  In one such tweet she took a picture of a person’s testimony, which had their full name on it, tweeted it out it out and mocked the person. We are in the legislature to serve the people. No citizen should ever be treated this way.

Things escalated when, in one tweet, she stated that the men of the House were making her homicidal. She explained that it was because after a vote that did not go her way, she was told not to take it so hard. She considered it misogyny. I can say that men and women alike have offered a similar sentiment to me when a bill failed that I felt was important. I did not ever take it as misogyny. I took it as humanity.

I do hope that we are not now in a place in our society where humanity and misogyny are synonymous. I will admit here is where I do see a double standard. Had a man made the statement that he was feeling homicidal toward the women in the State House, I believe there would have been swift consequences.

However, she and her supporters tried to excuse her behavior and change the narrative to make it appear that she was being attacked merely for being a strong, vocal woman.

In our last session, the minority leader made a motion to review another representative’s behavior in regard to a forum he moderated several years ago. I requested that this female legislator also be reviewed. The House agreed and both names went forward for individual reviews regarding their individual behavior. However, I was accused of providing cover for the male legislator. This is when the op eds began appearing accusing the men of misogyny and perpetuating a rape culture.

It was brilliant really, now that they have created this narrative, if the committee finds favorably in the case of the female representative, the House will be accused of having conducted a witch hunt. If the committee finds cause to make a recommendation against her, they will say she is being treated unfairly because she is a woman. If the male representative is not held to stricter standard, they will surely double down on accusing the men of the committee as being misogynists. It is unfortunate that they do not care what they do to these men’s reputations in the process.

As a result of my adding her name for review, these self proclaimed feminists, and warriors of women everywhere, posted my name, and information. They encouraged their supporters to come after me. They accused me of being a shill, and being unable to think for myself. They encouraged their Facebook, and Twitter followers to harass me. They were relentless and called me a rape apologist, and a supporter of misogyny. The men were brutal, and even tweeted out a meme in which I was called the “C” word, and by that I certainly do not mean “Conservative.”

Did these women support the fact that I was a strong outspoken women? No. They encouraged the harassment. I am a conservative woman. In their view I deserve all the abuse I receive. These actions have muted their charge of a republican war against women and resulted in these women losing all credibility. Just ask Ray Buckley, the New Hampshire Democratic chair that called me “loony,” among other things on twitter, and comes after me and other conservative women regularly.

State Representatives have a written code of ethics to uphold. All legislators, regardless of party or sex, should be held equally accountable to the same standard, with the same repercussions. The committee has a charge to find the correct result without being unfairly accused of being misogynistic.

Until very recently, members of the House worked together as one legislative body. I have enjoyed a great camaraderie with my fellow representatives, male, female, Democrat, Republican, and Libertarian. My male colleagues have been some of my strongest mentors, allies, and friends. I hope, for the sake of the people that we represent, that we get back to treating each other, and our constituents with the level of dignity that will honorably represent the People’s House.

 

Representative Victoria Sullivan
House Education Committee
Hillsborough District 16

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