It Shouldn’t Take Another Testimony Like Anita Hill’s For The Senate To Finally Believe Women
If Anita Hill’s 1991 testimony against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas taught us anything, it was to believe women.
Hill’s testimony linked together a complicated trifecta of race, class and gender after she accused Thomas, her former boss at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, of multiple instances of sexual harrasment.
Now 27 years later, a similar instance has brought us to reflect on the injustice against Hill, a woman who for years was forced to swallow a bitter pill after Thomas was eventually confirmed.
If history does repeat itself, it did not take long. As the Senate Judiciary Committee extends an invitation to hear the account of Christine Blasey Ford, a college professor who accused Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempted sexual assault while they were high school students in Maryland, the nation finds itself in the same predicament.
Ford gave a confidential written account to a senior democrat leader in July and later recalled the incident in an interview with The Washington Post. She said in the early 1980’s while she was a student at the Holton-Arms School and Kavanaugh attended Georgetown Prep, Kavanaugh, during a summer gathering at a friend’s house, forced her onto a bed and tried to take off her clothes while a friend of his watched. She said at the time, they were both intoxicated. When she tried to scream, Kavanaugh allegedly covered her mouth, sending her into a tailspin. Ford said she only escaped after one of Kavanaugh’s friends, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.
For all intents and purposes the same players exist as the Hill and Thomas incident, but certain elements differ. Kavanaugh and Ford are white and their alleged encounter took place while they were peers, not employer and employee. While many are using teenage angst as a qualifier to excuse Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior, the atrocity of Ford’s account cannot be denied.
Several women have used their platforms to tell the all-too-familiar nightmare that women face in the workplace, school and in their homes. The feeling of being violated, by a stranger, a family member or a friend.
No matter the circumstance, their stories show that time and on some occasions distance, never dulls the pain of sexual harassment or assault.