Katie Hill’s resignation is about much more than an alleged affair and explicit photos

Katie Hill – a first-term Democratic congresswoman from California who was part of last year’s historic, women-led wave in the midterm elections – has resigned amid an ethics probe into sexual impropriety.

Would she have stepped down if she were a man?

Hill claims her soon-to-be ex-husband, Kenny Heslep, “weaponized” naked photos of her that were then published in a conservative media outlet without her consent. 

The allegations Hill had sexual relationships with two of her staffers have led to debate on both sides of the political aisle around the double standards female elected officials face. They also have ignited conversations around revenge porn, biphobia (Hill is one of the first openly bisexual women in Congress) and what constitutes domestic violence in the digital age. 

Hill, who is in the midst of a messy divorce, has denied an accusation she had an affair with a male congressional staffer — the more serious charge, since it violates new House rules passed in the wake of #MeToo. She has admitted and apologized for having a relationship with a young female member of her campaign staff. Sexually explicit photos of her with the campaign staffer were published on the conservative website RedState. Hill has accused her estranged husband, who allegedly also participated in the affair, of being behind the photo release.

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