A local take on America's harassment discussion
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) —
Monday, four of the women who previously accused then-candidate Donald Trump of sexual misconduct called for Congress to investigate the now-President Trump.
President Trump has denied the allegations. The White House says the women are lying and the matter was settled in the last election.
Meanwhile, I met a woman who has a story too. Not with Trump, but with her own experience in the workplace.
“I was a truck driver at an open pit mine and I was the only woman with 105 men,” she told me. “90 percent of the men were awesome. But there's the few that were just still rednecks. Dumb. Harassment,” she said, telling me she knows what it feels like.
I met this lady, and her dog at a truck stop north of town as she headed back to Canada.
Even north of the border, she told me, they're noticing our harassment moment.
“When people say harassment, it is. And they should be believed and respected,” she said.
I came way out here to see if America's most famous former Senator wanted a piece of the discussion as America seems to be entering a cultural moment. Harry Reid was out here at nearby Apex turning the switch on "Switch's" renewable facility.
Any thoughts on harassment, I asked him? “No. I'm not here to talk about Trump,” said the former Senator, nor did he have any advice for Rep. Ruben Kihuen, the local Democratic congressman who’s also been accused of sexual misconduct.
Reid’s reticence to weigh-in is not surprising. Since he retired he’s laid-low, avoiding any discussion of national topics that could divert attention away from Washington.
At Safe Nest, which helps victims of domestic violence, it's a discussion they’re more than happy to have.
“Looking at these elements of power and control that are creating these environments to happen, as we’re seeing more-and-more reported, that is absolutely what we deal with on a regular basis,” says CEO Liz Ortenburger. Last year, Safe Nest provided shelter for 772 local domestic violence victims. It’s hotline handled more than 32,000 calls.
“I am cautiously optimistic that's it's a turning point for our society,” Ortenburger says about our national reckoning underway, hoping that now people act quickly.
“My hope is that we stop sort of waiting for victims to be courageous enough to come out,” she told me, “because often that’s years-and-years after the abuse has happened.”
She says America needs to adopt a harassment “see something says something” model.
“So if I have a colleague who’s acting inappropriately if I recognize that a work environment or a social environment is not in keeping with where I would like it to be, I address that,” Ortenburger says.
In the meantime, the stories keep coming and local John Flack is fine with that.
“Everyone should have a say. And probably time for them to have their say,” he tells me.
“Maybe it's about time for this.”