House of Spoilers?

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 20:  Chairman of the House Committee on Rules Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) speaks during a meeting of the committee on Capitol Hill on March 20, 2010, in Washington, DC. The Committee on Rules will determine how the pending health care legislation will advance through the vote in the House of Representatives.  (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)
National Journal
Billy House
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Billy House
Feb. 19, 2014, 10:08 a.m.

“Spoil­er alert” con­cerns ap­par­ently do not come in­to play when a mem­ber of Con­gress wants cred­it for in­spir­ing one of the story lines in the Net­flix series House of Cards.

Rep. Louise Slaughter’s of­fice sent out a news re­lease Wed­nes­day say­ing that an epis­ode in the newly re­leased second sea­son draws from one of her own ex­ploits — when she con­vinced the Air Force to dis­con­tin­ue a bro­chure that sug­gests to sexu­al-as­sault vic­tims that “it may be ad­vis­able to sub­mit than to res­ist.”

The press re­lease even pin­points the ref­er­ence as oc­cur­ring at the 29:45 mark of the fifth epis­ode, titled “Chapter 17” — for those who may want to double-check.

That’s when (and this is where the spoil­er ma­ter­i­al comes in) Claire Un­der­wood, the wife of the main char­ac­ter, Con­gress­man-turned-Vice Pres­id­ent Frank Un­der­wood, and the first lady meet with rep­res­ent­at­ives from the Joint Chiefs on the is­sue of sexu­al as­sault in the mil­it­ary.

When the of­ficers de­fend the cur­rent sys­tem, Ms. Un­der­wood brings up the bro­chure: “This is from your own sexu­al-as­sault pre­ven­tion lit­er­at­ure, and in it, it says ‘in some cases it may be ad­vis­able to sub­mit than to res­ist.’ I think it’s quite clear that there’s still room for im­prove­ment.”

Here’s why Slaughter, the rank­ing Demo­crat on the House Rules Com­mit­tee, thinks she was the muse for that scene.

In May of 2013, Slaughter sent a let­ter to De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel ques­tion­ing a real-life bro­chure which was cir­cu­lated at Shaw Air Force Base in South Car­o­lina. In ad­di­tion to sug­gest­ing “it may be ad­vis­able to sub­mit than to res­ist,” the bro­chure also ad­vised po­ten­tial vic­tims of sexu­al as­sault on the base to “con­sider rolling un­der a nearby auto and scream loud.”

After Slaughter’s in­quiry, the Air Force pulled the bro­chure and agreed to con­duct a thor­ough re­view of all sexu­al-as­sault pre­ven­tion ma­ter­i­als dis­trib­uted by the mil­it­ary.

Slaughter re­leased a short video in Ju­ly when she learned of the De­fense De­part­ment’s policy change.

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