Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle on Wednesday lauded the state Chamber of Commerce for a set of reforms meant to protect against sexual harassment and assault but said the organization’s specific policies missed the mark.
“While I applaud any organization who wishes to make a difference in eliminating rape culture and reducing the rate of sexual assault and harassment, I believe that some of the Chamber’s response is misguided by the very culture we are trying to eradicate,” Vainieri Huttle said. “Let’s be clear: alcohol, whether it is beer, wine or hard liquor does not cause sexual harassment or assault, sexual predators do.”
The Chamber on Tuesday announced it would ban hard alcohol on its chartered train to the country’s capital, among a set of other reforms that included increased security and training for chamber personnel.
“The issue of sexual harassment and assault in politics and in our society at large is one that cannot be solved overnight,” Vainieri Huttle said. “It is for this reason that I thank the Chamber of Commerce for including in their plans increased sexual harassment training for staff as well as an increase in the number of security personnel during the Chamber Trip.”
The organization’s annual Walk to Washington was named a hotbed for sexual harassment in a recent report by NJ Advance Media that said a culture of sexual harassment and assault still permeated New Jersey politics.