Reflections: Why Anita Hill’s Testimony Still Resonates

Anita HillWell…Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed by the Senate to the Supreme Court.

Over the last few weeks, I have watched in awe at Brett Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation on Capital Hill. The hearing was eerily similar to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ confirmation hearing in the early 1990s.

Déjà vu?

In both hearings, a terrified woman came forward to testify under penalty of perjury against a Supreme Court nominee. Both Supreme Court nominees were men and accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. And yet the results were the same, both men got confirmed to highest court in the land.

Now I don’t know if the men were guilty. I am cautious of rushing to convict based on allegations as people do lie. What I am mostly troubled by is the dismissive attitude towards people who have been abused or harassed. In my opinion, conservatives rushed to confirm Kavanaugh. They just wanted a win and he was their trophy.

Who is Anita Hill?

On October 11, 1991, a young, articulate, African American professor name Anita Hill had the attention of millions in the United States. Born on July 30, 1956, Anita Faye Hill is an American attorney and professor at Brandeis University. Despite being the youngest of Albert and Erma Hill’s 13 children, she took advantage of education and rose above her humble beginnings in Oklahoma to work in Washington D.C. in the early 1980’s.

While in Washington D.C.,  she worked for now Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and claimed she endured years of sexual harassment while they worked at the Department of Education and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). She stated she stayed because she was passionate about her work and hoped her constant rejection would end the harassment.

Why It Still Resonates?

Despite the Senate committee confirming Clarence Thomas and dismissing Hill’s testimony, the United States changed. Hill’s testimony had far reaching effects. Reaction to the Senate were negatively credited by many scholars and social justice personalities alike. The public became aware of sexual harassment, which greatly inspired women to vie for public offices without shying away from competition. Additionally, women began to speak out about sexual harassment encounters and ended their silence.

Yet, despite the progress, more must be done. Christine Blasey Ford testimony has echoed Anita Hill’s. In 2018, sexual assault survivors (both men and women) need more support. Despite the Supreme Court being majority conservative now, the people must continue to speak up and demand change. The world is watching. History demands those who abuse their power to be held accountable. Make your voice heard – go vote!

Video credit: wenzel Videous | Youtube

Video credit: CNN | Youtube

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