GOP State Sen Faces Censure Resolution For Invoking a Colleague’s Name While Reading Graphic Rape Details


A resolution to censure a Nebraska Republican was filed Wednesday evening after he repeatedly inserted a colleague’s name into a book passage including graphic details about a rape that he read during a floor debate.

Nebraska Republican state Senator Steve Halloran invoked a colleague’s name while reading a rape scene during a debate on a bill to ban obscenity and pornography in K-12 schools, which is already illegal, according to opponents of the bill being debated, Nebraska Examiner reported.

On Monday, Halloran read testimony from a March 24, 2023 hearing on LB 441, including passages from “Lucky,” by Alice Sebold, “which includes a graphic description of a rape Sebold survived in college.”

“Lucky” was one of the most banned books in the country during the 2021-22 school year.

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While reading the testimony Monday, Halloran inserted the name “Senator Cavanaugh” at the end of select sentences about the sexual assault. He didn’t specify which Cavanaugh — both Machaela Cavanaugh and her brother John serve in the Legislature.

State Senator Machaela Cavanaugh objected later on Monday, rebutting, “You don’t know anything about anyone else’s life. And I can tell you that women in this body have been subjected to sexual violence.”

NBC added that “she said Tuesday that she did not believe he was referring to her brother.”

On Tuesday, after he faced calls to resign, Halloran claimed he was “initially” directing the graphic sexual assault details at her brother, as if men are not also the victims of sexual assault.

You will probably not be surprised to learn that both Machaela Cavanaugh and her brother are Democrats.

In case this seems like much ado about nothing, here is rather shocking video of his behavior, which is NOT SAFE FOR WORK and should come with a huge strobe light trigger warning.

Independent state Senator Megan Hunt wasn’t having it. “Honestly, I think Halloran should resign. How dare he even form his mouth to say the words ‘Give me a b— j– Senator Cavanaugh,’” she wrote on Twitter/X. “He said that because he wanted to say it. It was beyond the pale. Pure aggression to read a rape scene out loud and put it like that. Broken brain.”

She went on (my edit), “The problem isn’t that graphic language exists in books. The problem isn’t that rape survivors have written about their experiences. The problem is standing on a platform as a state senator, and fixing your mouth to tell one of your colleagues to give you a bl** j*b.”

Yes, a Republican state Senator demanded a sexual act from a colleague on the Senate floor as a way of objecting to a woman’s account of being violently raped.

Although an investigation was launched under the Nebraska Legislature’s workplace harassment policy against Halloran, a resolution to censure Halloran was filed late Wednesday “for interjecting a senator’s name while reading about a violent rape.”

“It was read in a way like he was demanding me to perform a sex act on him,” Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh said. “What happened on Monday night was disgusting and offensive to me.”

Cavanaugh said that a hearing on a censure resolution would help avoid “further victimization, further traumatizing” of sexual assault victims.

“This body should stand up for decency,” she said.

They are not wrong. This is a clear act of aggression.

If we zoom out for a minute, we can see national examples of Republicans pushing revenge pornography into U.S. House hearings and harassing opponents by bringing their personal tragedy into public hearings.

Certainly it not just Republicans who engage in this kind of workplace behavior, but right now it is elected Republican lawmakers who are in the news nationally and at the state level for injecting lurid, not safe for work, aggressive and inappropriate sexual and personal attacks into what are supposed to be legitimate legislative and oversight duties.

These tactics are not accidental, although it’s fair to ask why people who claim to be against pornography are reading something they consider to be pornography in a hearing. And then it’s also worth asking why they consider the experience of sexual assault, which is shared by many, to be something that should be hidden even as their policies reward sexual assault by undermining access to and at times essentially banning abortion.

The party of “family values” continue to be the party that subjects citizens to outrageous violations of decency on a pretty regular basis now, and this is happening because their oversight and policy objectives are a form of party warfare rather than actual efforts to improve the lives of their constituents.

This is an aggressive form of obfuscation and deflection, meant to stun and wound opponents into silence via public humiliation. But the person who should be humiliated in this case is Senator Steve Halloran, who made a spectacle of his own aggressive sexual fantasies during a floor speech.





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