Live with a gas leak that could kill you and your child, or be forced to have sex with the maintenance man who can fix it? It’s a horrifying scenario. But at least 19 women living in Baltimore public housing were routinely denied maintenance services for rat infestations, gas leaks, no heat, risk of electrocution, and more–unless they agreed to have sex with the city’s maintenance employees.1
What’s worse? Baltimore’s housing commissioner, Paul Graziano, knew about the abuse, but did nothing to stop it. Residents are calling for the mayor to fire him.2 If we all speak out and keep this disgusting scandal in the headlines, we can make sure she does. Will you add your name?
|Tell Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: Stop rape, abuse, and harassment in your Housing Authority. Fire Commissioner Paul Graziano immediately.
The stories of these women and girls are tragic. A single mother, who moved into public housing to escape an abusive relationship, didn’t have a choice but to have sex with a maintenance employee to repair a gas leak that could have killed her and her four-year-old-daughter. She ran out of options again when she needed other life-saving and overdue repairs–like peeling lead paint chips that caused health issues for her toddler.3
When women said “no” to the demands of the housing employees, they were punished too. Another woman was groped by an employee trying to bribe her into giving sexual favors. When she complained to the manager, the entire maintenance crew stopped all work on her home, and left a leak that’s caused such severe mold growth that she sometimes coughs up blood.4
Public housing in Baltimore has been in crisis under Graziano’s watch, and this isn’t the first problem he’s ignored. Under his tenure, residents have faced lead poisoning, unfair evictions, racial segregation, and more.5 Now with more attention on these cases of sexual abuse, Graziano’s misconduct as housing commissioner is under a spotlight. If we join the many calls for Rawlings-Blake to fire him and keep the media pressure high–she’ll be forced to ask him to leave.
Add your name.
–Nita, Shaunna, Kat, Karin, Adam, Holly, Kaili, Kathy, Onyi, Susan, Clarise, Anathea, Audine, Ryan, Shannon, Megan, Kaytee, and Libby, the UltraViolet team
1. Women in Baltimore Public Housing Were Forced to Trade Sex for Basic Repairs, ThinkProgress, January 9, 2016
2. Baltimore mayoral candidates: Graziano must go, Baltimore Sun, November 3, 2015
3. Women in Baltimore Public Housing Were Forced to Trade Sex for Basic Repairs, ThinkProgress, January 9, 2016