INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. —As Indiana lawmakers were trained on sexual harassment prevention Tuesday at the Statehouse. It’s required by a law passed in 2018 after the "Me Too" movement.
“I always look forward to this," said State Sen. Ron Alting of Lafayette. "I think it’s a reminder to me personally of what my parents taught me to be a gentleman.”
Sen. Alting said this training absolutely makes a difference.
"Particularly to senior Senators like myself that is kind of old fashioned and used to hugging people with compassion,” said Alting.
He said his hugs were always well-intended but now, he’s more careful.
“Because it can be misunderstood,” explained Alting.
“You can make one statement to one person and they just brush it off, you can make the same statement to another person and they are extremely offended,” said Kim Jeselskis Law Partner, Jeselskis Brinkerhoff and Joseph LLC. She deals with sexual harassment cases every day.
Jeselskis said clear policies and procedures are crucial to protecting the workplace from sexual harassment and in-person seminars are the best way to present those rules.
“It has to be more effective than an employee sitting alone just clicking through an online training or watching a webinar,” explained Jeselskis.
Tracey Horth Krueger, the CEO of the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking said you have to enforce the rules for them to make a difference.
“This behavior is 100 percent preventable and as soon as perpetrators know that it is unacceptable, they’re going to stop,” said Horth Krueger.
She said she is proud of Indiana for requiring this training at the Statehouse.
“We are hoping that through that training, that sends a message to other employers to other businesses that this is something that needs to be occurring in their own individual workplaces,” said Horth Krueger.
“It’s just a different world," added Alting. "I’m not sure if I’ve ever thought 20 years ago that we would be where we are at but I think it’s needed.”
The training took place Tuesday from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm in the House Chamber. It also included ethics. Stacy Householder of National Conference of State Legislatures and Ed Ferguson of the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission presented at the event.