Activists slam Elaine Chao for saying victims 'let it go' 

by 07/12/2017 22:51:00 0 comments 1 Views
  • Chao revealed she had been sexually harassed in the workplace at a Women Rule Summit in Washington, D.C.
  •  But, while she insisted she 'fights for other women', she said women should be magnanimous and not dwell on the past
  • 'Things change. Times change. And it's not worth my while to go back and revisit those negative moments,' she said
  • 'You've got to let it go,' added the 64-year-old who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
  • Chao didn't name her harasser, or give further details about the incident, but told the crowd 'the person is still here, and he's still around'
  • Her comments have sparked anger among women and activists on Twitter who say she is part of the problem
  • 'How about seeking justice in order to move on with one's life, instead?' Jill‏ McJohnson demanded on Twitter

By Hannah Parry For Dailymail.com

Published: 22:51 EST, 7 December 2017 | Updated: 22:51 EST, 7 December 2017

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has been slammed for appearing to suggest that women who suffered sexual harassment should 'let it go.'

Chao was speaking at Politico's Women Rule Summit in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, when she revealed her #MeToo experience, that she'd been sexually harassed in the workplace.

While she insisted she 'fight(s) for other women', she said victims should be magnanimous and not dwell on the past.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was speaking at Politico's Women Rule Summit in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday (pictured) when she revealed her #MeToo experience, that she'd been sexually harassed in the workplace
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was speaking at Politico's Women Rule Summit in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday (pictured) when she revealed her #MeToo experience, that she'd been sexually harassed in the workplace

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was speaking at Politico's Women Rule Summit in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday (pictured) when she revealed her #MeToo experience, that she'd been sexually harassed in the workplace

While she insisted she 'fight(s) for other women', she said victims should be magnanimous and not dwell on the past
While she insisted she 'fight(s) for other women', she said victims should be magnanimous and not dwell on the past

While she insisted she 'fight(s) for other women', she said victims should be magnanimous and not dwell on the past

She added that 'times change' and women have just 'got to let it go.'

'This is an important lesson. You know, you will go through difficulties in your life. And I hope you will all triumph. And when you triumph, you need to help others along the way. But you also must have magnanimity of spirit. Things change. Times change. And it's not worth my while to go back and revisit those negative moments.

'I will fight for other women. And I will stand up for other women. But you know, of your own — you've got to let it go. Because otherwise, it's too corrosive, it's too negative and it does you a double injury because it holds you back.

Chao didn't name her harasser, or give further details about the incident, but told the crowd 'the person is still here, and he's still around.' 

'Of course. I think that's the dirty little secret that a lot of women have held for a long time,' Chao said of the rampant sexual harassment in entertainment, media and politics. 

Her comments have sparked anger among women and activists on Twitter who say she is part of the problem.

'How about seeking justice in order to move on with one's life, instead?' Jill‏ McJohnson demanded on Twitter.

Devi Sage‏ said Chao's statement 'makes no sense.'

'That is awful,' she tweeted. 'If you will 'fight for women' and 'stand up for women,' then you do not tell victims/survivors they need to be silent/let it go. Ugh. They deserve justice.'

'Let it go??? Yeah, because it's just so easy to forget about being sexually harassed/assaulted,' another Twitter user wrote.

UltraViolet women's rights group added: 'If you can't finish a statement that starts with 'I will fight for other women' without adding 'but,' your statement is probably (trash emoji).' 

Sung Yeon Choimorrow, executive director at the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, added that Chao's reinforced sexist stereotypes.

'She is displaying systemic misogyny when she makes the victims responsible for their own future,' she said. 'Comments like 'let it go' [and] 'this will hold you back' that are made to victims of sexual harassment and even rape sends a clear message it is solely the responsibility of women to deal with the aftermath of sexual harassment.'

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and US President Donald Trump as they participate in a roundtable discussion in June
Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and US President Donald Trump as they participate in a roundtable discussion in June

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and US President Donald Trump as they participate in a roundtable discussion in June

A Department of Transportation spokesperson defended Chao, telling the Huffington Post that her statement had not been intended as advice for other women, but she had been sharing her own personal experience and how she dealt with it.

Chao, 64, is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and is serving her second stint in a presidential cabinet. She was secretary of labor for eight years during the George W. Bush administration. 

The issue of sexual harassment, amplified by a 'me too' social media campaign in which women have recounted some of their own experiences, has rocked Washington, with at least four sitting members of Congress under ethics clouds.

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