A month after resigning from Congress amid an investigation into claims she had sexual affairs with multiple staffers — one she admits to and one she denies — former Democratic Representative Katie Hill penned an op-ed portraying herself as the victim of “revenge porn” and describing in detail the moment she says she almost took her own life.
Shortly after the House Ethics Committee announced that it was investigating her for allegations of a sexual relationship with a male congressional staffer in violation of House rules, Hill took to the floor of the House of Representatives on Oct. 31 to formally declare her resignation. Though Hill denies the allegation that she had an affair with a member of her congressional staff, she has admitted to having an “inappropriate” sexual affair with a young female campaign staffer, an admission that followed the circulation of explicit photographic evidence of the affair online.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made clear publicly that she approved of Hill’s resignation. “[Rep. Hill] has acknowledged errors in judgment that made her continued service as a member untenable,” said Pelosi in response to Hill’s initial letter announcing her decision to step down. “We must ensure a climate of integrity and dignity in the Congress, and in all workplaces.”
In an op-ed for The New York Times published Saturday, Hill declares that “it’s not over after all.” The focus of the piece suggests that by “it,” she means her life, which she says she came close to ending one particularly desperate day:
It was two days after I announced my resignation. I don’t even know how I spent the day. I was probably reading articles about myself that I shouldn’t have been reading, ignoring more text messages and calls, falling in and out of restless sleep. But when it got dark I drew a bath, lit candles and brought over a bottle of wine.
I laid there and thought about what I’d lost. The people on my team and in my life who had been hurt and had done nothing wrong. Everyone I’d let down, everyone who worked for me, who campaigned for me, who believed in me. The future I thought was in store for me that was instantly and irrevocably gone. My own mistakes had led me there, but there were other things at play. And those pictures — no one should have ever seen them.
How could I ever face anyone again knowing what they’d seen? Knowing what they knew?
The bath water had gone cold. The wine bottle was empty. Suddenly and with total clarity, I just wanted it all to be over. I got up and looked for the box cutter. I couldn’t find it. A part of my brain was saying: “Stop it, this is stupid. You’re not going to do it. Go drain the bathtub and get yourself together.” But I felt like I was out of my body, like it was moving without me, and I got the paring knife and got back into the cold bath.
I stared at the veins in my wrists. They were so thin. They were green in the candlelight. I started tracing them with the edge of the knife, lightly at first, then pushing harder and harder. The knife was duller than I thought. It surprised me how hard I had to push simply to scratch the surface. Fine red lines started to appear, and I knew that if I pushed just a tiny bit harder I would start to bleed.