Anita Hill still waits for change, 30 years after testimony
Sep 27, 2021 1 min, 41 secs
America had yet to really understand sexual harassment when Anita Hill testified against Clarence Thomas in front of an all-male Senate panel in October 1991.

Her new book, “Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence,” is a heavily researched look at gender violence — tracing its roots, measuring its impact, and suggesting ways to fight it.

Sitting down last week with The Associated Press to discuss the book — her third — Hill said the project gained urgency in early 2020 as the pandemic took hold.

Through a mix of academic studies, legal analysis, anecdotes and interviews, Hill looks at different spheres of society and finds that although there’s surely a better understanding of sexual harassment and gender violence now than three decades ago — when Wyoming Sen.

Alan Simpson referred at the hearing to “that sexual harassment crap” — there’s a lack of comprehension of how deeply rooted the problems are.

She also says it’s unrealistic to expect a younger generation’s more evolved values will be enough to eradicate gender violence, an idea she calls “the myth of the woke generation.” First of all, beliefs in any generation are mixed, but also, it’s the institutions and systems that need to change, she says.

“It’s really dangerous for us to think that gender violence is not a huge problem, that it is not a problem that’s affecting (all of us),” Hill says.

And, she says, despite the power of millions of #MeToo tweets sharing such experiences that launched the movement in 2017, a year later at Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court hearing, “Christine Blasey Ford testified about her own experience with sexual assault ...

What Hill has learned, she says, is that attitudes may have evolved, but systems and institutions haven’t kept pace.

Another point Hill addresses in her book: the long-awaited apology offered her in 2019 by Joe Biden, who had chaired a skeptical Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 when she testified that Thomas had harassed her when she worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.


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