Me on the steps right here in front of our nation’s capital. I was minding my own business. Walking up the steps and representative yoho put his finger in my face. He called me disgusting. He called me crazy. He called me out of my mind and he called me dangerous, and then he took a few more steps and after i had recognized his uh after i had recognized his his comments as rude. He walked away and said i’m rude you’re. Calling me rude. I took a few steps ahead and i walked inside and cast my vote and because my constituents send me here, each and every day to fight for them and to make sure that they are able to keep a roof over their head. That they’re able to feed their families that they’re able to carry their lives with dignity. I walked back out and there were reporters in the front of the capitol and in front of reporters representative yoho called me, and i quote: these are the words that representative yoho levied against a congresswoman, the congresswoman that not only represents new york’s 14th congressional district, but Every congresswoman and every woman in this country, because all of us have had to deal with this in some form some way some shape at some point in our lives, and i want to be clear that representative yoho’s comments were not deeply hurtful or piercing to me Because i have worked a working class job, i have weighted tables in restaurants, i have ridden the subway, i have walked the streets in new york city and this kind of language is not new.

I have encountered words uttered by mr yoho and men uttering the same words as mr yoho. While i was being harassed in restaurants, i have tossed men out of bars that have used language like mr yoho’s and i have encountered this type of harassment riding the subway in new york city. This is not new, and that is the problem. Mr yoho was not alone; he was walking shoulder to shoulder with representative roger williams and that’s when we start to see that this issue is not about one incident. It is cultural, it is a culture of lack of impunity, of accepting of violence and violent language against women, an entire structure of power that supports that, because not only have i been spoken to disrespectfully, particularly by members of the republican party and elected officials in the Republican party – not just here but the president of the united states last year, told me to go home to another country, is the implication that i don’t even belong in america. The governor of florida, governor desantis, before i even was sworn in called me, a whatever. That is dehumanizing language is not new, and what we are seeing is that incidents like these are happening in a pattern. This is a pattern of of an attitude towards women and dehumanization of others. So while i was not deeply hurt or offended by little comments that are made when i was reflecting on this, i i honestly thought that i was just going to pack it up and go home it’s just another day right.

But then, yesterday representative yoho decided to come to the floor of the house of representatives and make excuses for his behavior and that i could not let go. I could not allow my nieces. I could not allow the little girls that i go home to. I could not allow victims of verbal abuse and worse to see that to see that excuse and to see our congress accept it as legitimate and accept it as an apology and to accept silence as a form of acceptance. I could not allow that to stand, which is why i’m rising today to raise this point of personal privilege, and i do not need representative yoho to apologize to me clearly. He does not want to clearly when, given the opportunity, he will not – and i will not stay up late at night – waiting for an apology from a man who has no remorse over calling women and using abusive language towards women. But what i do have issue with is using women, our wives and daughters as shields and excuses for poor behavior. Mr yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters. I am two years younger than mr yoho’s youngest daughter. I am someone’s daughter too my father. Thankfully, is not alive to see how mr yoho treated his daughter. My mother got to see mr yoho’s disrespect on the floor of this house towards me on television, and i am here because i have to show my parents that i am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.

Now. What i am here to say is that this harm that mr yoho levied it tried to levy against me was not just an incident directed at me, but when you do that to any woman, what mr yoho did was give permission to other men to do that. To his daughters he gave in using that language in front of the press. He gave permission to use that language against his wife, his daughters, women in his community, and i am here to stand up to say that is not acceptable. I do not care what your views are. It does not matter how much i disagree or how much it incenses me or how much i feel that people are dehumanizing others.