Katie Hill — the former congresswoman who resigned after nude photos of her were published without her consent and an affair with a campaign staffer was made public — is finally telling the world what the days before and after her resignation were like. And the days sound like hell.
In an essay published to The New York Times opinion section on Sunday, Hill described how strangers found her number, drowning out any communication from supporters “sending love.” Days after her resignation speech, her California office was sent a “suspicious envelope” with a white powder and had to be evacuated. Her mother was “followed by people in dark trucks with cameras” around their town, while her father took down posters of Hill edited into a Nazi uniform with #WifenSwappenSS.
Hill also shared the timeline of her marriage to a man she had been with since she was 16 years old. She said she had first tried to leave month before the election. “When I tried, he made it clear to me that if I left, he would ruin me,” Hill wrote. “I knew he could, so I went back to him and finished the campaign.” Five months later, in June, she moved out of their house and asked for a divorce. “The fear that my husband would ruin me hung over me every day. I knew the risk when I left, but I thought I didn’t have a choice, and despite the threat, I felt better than I had in years,” she wrote.
Then, Hill gets to the publication of the nude images. (Hill believes her husband was the source of the images published by Red State, but he has denied this.) Hill says she “would start shaking, crying, throwing up” after she made the decision to resign. “I knew it was the best decision for me, my family, my staff, my colleagues, my community. But that didn’t make it any easier,” she wrote.
Two days after she announced her resignation, Hill described actions that fall somewhere between suicidal ideation and suicide attempt. As she thought about her family, her friends, her constituents and her supporters, “I realized I couldn’t do it. I ran the campaign knowing it was bigger than me and what I wanted, and it still is. I don’t get to quit. I have to keep going forward, and be part of the fight to create the change that those young girls are counting on.”
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The next day Hill wrote her final floor speech. Her friends in Congress threw her a goodbye party. The next day Hill gave her speech.
Hill closed the piece by saying she’s not done fighting. “I don’t know exactly what’s ahead for me, and I know there’s a lot more pain ahead. But I’m in the fight, and I’m glad it’s not all over after all,” she wrote.
If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.