Representative Moira J. Walsh (D-Dist. 3, Providence) spoke out on Friday to clarify the comments she made earlier this week following Wednesday’s sexual harassment training at the Rhode Island State House.
Minutes after Wednesday's training, Representative Walsh appeared on WBOB's Cobblestone Press with Kevin Aherne, and stated that she was disgusted and disappointed by a question raised by a fellow representative during the training that she felt was inappropriate. Walsh later posted similar comment to social media, drawing headlines. Walsh on Friday clarified her comments, stating that her remarks were in no way intended to be an accusation of sexual harassment against her colleague, as some media outlets have erroneously reported.
“I do not feel as though I was personally harassed by Representative Perez or his remarks,’ said Walsh. “It is unfortunate that my quoting of him has resulted in such a tasteless outburst of inaccurate headlines using terms such as ‘accusations.’”
“My comments regarding Representative Perez’s question were never intended to serve as an accusation of sexual harassment,” Walsh continued. “However, regardless of his intention, my disgust and disappointment with his remark remains.”
Representative Perez has since stated that his question was intended as sincere, and not as a joke.
“If his question was intended as sincere, it is unfortunate that he didn’t receive a better answer," Walsh responded. "If it was not meant to be a joke, it is disappointing to me how many of my colleagues laughed at his question. It suggests that we are not properly weighing the seriousness of these discussions.“
“Regardless of the true meaning behind my colleague’s question, its existence alone clearly evidences that one training will not change the paradigm, and we should not believe that we are done learning.”
Representative Walsh added that she hopes that this incident will demonstrate the necessity of such education and that it inspires additional dialogue about sexual harassment prevention.
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