I Believe Anita! by Marie Cartier


Marie CartierDuring the past week I attended a Los Angeles premiere of a new documentary Anita: Speaking Truth to Power (Dir: Freida Lee Mock USA, 2013). The screening was sold out and I had great seats saved for me– sitting with a friend who works at Samuel Goldwyn, the distributor of this fine film.

In 1991, Anita Hill provided testimony she hoped would serve to dissemble the nomination of Clarence Thomas as a Supreme Court justice. Although the vote would end up being close (52-48) Hill’s testimony did not serve to dissuade the decision — Clarence Thomas’ nomination was confirmed and he was appointed to a life term on the Supreme Court four days after Hill’s testimony concluded. Here is an outline of the debate.

I remember watching the hearings in 1991 at a friend’s house in Sacramento, CA where I was couch-surfing with another friend anita-580x857while we were in Sacramento from Los Angeles to protest for gay rights—to speak our truth to power. I remember being amazed that she was doing this—and that it was being televised. We were glued to the set before we went off to the protest we were attending.

In order to speak her truth to power, Hill had to use words in the grand theatrical rotunda of Washington’s power brokers that had heretofore not been heard there, much less televised. Phrases like “pubic hair on my Coke can,” and “Long Dong Silver” that Thomas had spoken in her presence and which constituted a large part of her sexual harassment charge went as “viral” as things could go in 1991—and a media frenzy ensued. What ultimately became clear is that a panel of fifteen white senators listening to two African Americans—one female and one male—engage in what they saw as a “he said, she said” battle left them with their hands tied. They could not hear either side correctly—they could not hear “pubic hair on my Coke” – it was un-thinkable—that is they did not think it—and so, they could relate to almost nothing Hill said.

What they could relate to apparently was the fear that Thomas put in their minds when he accused them of performing a “high tech lynching of uppity blacks” –with this expert turn of phrase, Thomas wiped the slate clean in terms of the minds of the Senators. While some of them may have thought Hill might have been telling the truth—it was less anxiety producing to remove her from the debate that in would be to derail the nomination of an African American male and be accused of egregious racism. Joe Biden shut down the hearing.

What is horrible historically, in watching this documentary and something most of the viewing public glued to the television did not know is that there were other women (among them Angela Wright and Rose Jourdain) who were willing to testify against the nomination of Clarence Thomas—who would have provided similar testimony to that of Anita Hill. They were not allowed to speak after the white panel of Senators was accused of racism by Clarence Thomas. These women were not allowed to “speak truth to power”– at least not in televised testimony–so Anita Hill was left to stand alone. And Thomas was confirmed.

However–history/herstory has shown that Hill’s brave act of “speaking truth to power” was not in vain in 1991. In 1992, a record number of women ran for public office and won. In the U.S. Senate, eleven women ran and five won seats–including one incumbent candidate. In the House of Representatives, twenty-four women won new seats. 1992 was the “Year of the Woman.”

Sexual harassment cases more than doubled, from 6,127 in 1991 to 15,342 in 1996 and… awards to victims under federal laws almost quadrupled–from $7.7 million to $27.8 million.

Was this a reaction to the Thomas nomination? Many feel that yes—since Anita Hill’s allegations were not taken seriously by a Senate that was 98% male—in order for such allegations to be taken seriously women had to hold public office.

What are the costs of speaking out? Hill states that she had to speak out—she had a truth which she felt had to be heard. The effects on her own life were immense—she received death threats. In the documentary we see the files and files (of cabinets, plural) that hold all of the letters—good and bad– she received. The life she might have led—in fact the life that was referred to by one of her supporters who testified that she had spoken of the harassment previously to the Washington hearings said he felt Dr. Hill may have shown up in the grand rotunda for a very different purpose if she had chosen not to testify—that she herself may have been nominated as a Supreme Court justice.

This, of course, would not be the case after the public testimony. In the film, during the run of the credits, we see Hill unzip the dry cleaner bag of the iconic blue dress she wore during the hearings. A dress the color which was seen as “bold and remarkable” for the occasion– is also, we see at the end of the movie, a dress she would never wear again. Although she would by anyone’s account continue to live a “bold and remarkable” life—it would be one marked forever and deeply with her 1991 decision to ‘speak truth to power’.”

“Polls show that during the time of testimony 70% of people believed Professor Anita Hill to be committing perjury. Hill spoke of how everyday she was aware that 7 out of 10 people believed her to be a liar and how this affected her ability to complete such simple tasks as grocery shopping in the public eye.  Much emphasis was made by Hill that her support system is the reason she has accomplished so much and moved on to become who she is now.”

anita 2

Susan Hoerchner, & director, Freida Lee Mock

Because of the seats saved for me, I ended up sitting right behind the row of seats where three of Anita Hill’s sisters sat—and where one of the four people who testified on Hill’s behalf also sat: Susan Hoerchner.

Hoerchner’s testimony speaks to what we, who dialogue religiously and morally, often grapple with: complicity and silence as opposed to “speaking truth to power.” If we don’t speak up—who will speak up? Hill felt that—and rightfully so– it was vital that others supported her. It is important to remember that several women were actually ready to speak to also corroborate her testimony—but they were not allowed to speak. The four who did speak provided testimony that Hill had spoken of these sexual harassment allegations earlier. Hoerchner’s testimony was crucial—not just to the testimony at large—but to Hill’s well-being. It is documented that Hill needed her support system to survive the barrage of hate and media scrutiny that her life would become. She needed those who would say “I believe Anita.”

Matthew 25:40 says: “Whatever you do to the least of me, you do unto me.” This verse speaks to our need to recognize the importance of standing next to one another. “The least of” is less “the least of” if there are more of them. How can we stand in support of one another?

Anita Hill does not regret her choice to “speak truth to power.” She does regret the pain it caused her family, her friends, and those that stood with her.  However– she is very clear that she did what she had to do—and those that stood with her—did what they had to do. I was able to speak to Susan Hoerchner and have my picture taken with her. I thanked her and became very choked up suddenly meeting her—this woman who had the courage to stand shoulder to shoulder with Anita Hill and her 1991 testimony. If not for those who stand with us, we stand alone.

Marie Cartier with Susan Hoerchener

Marie Cartier with Susan Hoerchner

We must do what we have to do—we must “speak truth to power.” And we must stand with the least of these—as one of the least of these or in solidarity.

In the words of the poet, Marge Piercy, in her poem, “For strong women”:

A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her teeth
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
every battle a scar. A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue that aches
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.
A strong woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
sucking her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.
What comforts her is other’s loving
her equally for the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
Only water of connection remains,
flowing through us. Strong is what we make together,
a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.

 

Marie Cartier is a teacher, poet, writer, healer, artist, and scholar. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting) from UCLA; and an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University. She is also a first degree black belt in karate, Shorin-Ryu Shi-Do-Kan Kobayashi style. Ms. Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.

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Categories: Abuse of Power, Activism, American History, Ethics, Feminism, Gender and Power, General, Herstory, Justice, Media, Patriarchy, Politics, Racism

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78 replies

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I plan to watch this documentary and share it with others. Your words are true and brought tears to my eyes. Women must stand together.

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  2. I remember those hearings. I also remember the sitcom Murphy Brown that satirized the Thomas hearings. Unfortunately, the right-wing branch of the Supreme Court seems to have totally lost touch with the reality that people like us live. It’s remarkable that Thomas almost never speaks during hearings before the court. Was he really the best jurist Bush 1 could have selected? Obviously not. I wish we could rewind history and make those rich, powerful, old white men that voted for Thomas pay attention to what Anita Hill said. Sigh.

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    • very well said, Barbara. i’ll have to go back and look at that *murphy brown* episode! I could use a feminist satirization of those hearings right about now!!

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  3. Thank you! I saw the film last night and recommend it to everyone.

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  4. I’m looking forward to seeing this movie, since i well remember the hearings, and being shocked that Thomas was confirmed and that other women were silenced. Let’s not forget the Joe Biden who did that, who led that committee. A democrat. Women need to have even more seats on the Supreme Court, and I am firmly convinced that women need to stand up to the sexual harassers, to blame the men, to call them out on every criminal act they do to women. It is a war on women in the work place, a war on black women, an out and out war. What would put a stop to men doing this all the time everywhere? Women will have to tear down the old boys club, they should all go to prison for this stuff.

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  5. I remember watching Anita Hill and believing her too, I did not remember Joe Biden, who was not a figure on my radar at the time. Sighhhh.

    Great poem from Piercy, what a voice for women she is too.

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  6. Anita is a very amazing and bold woman that did in fact “speak truth to power.” Even though the Supreme Court board was mostly made up of men, she did what she had to do by speaking up to them about the sexual harassment that she had been dealing with from her boss. Everyone has the right to come forward about harassment, whether they be a male or a female. No one’s voice should be overheard about something that is that important! I love that you were able to meet Susan Hoerchner, another woman who stood up for what she believed in. The poem that you posted is very relevant to this situation! My favorite line is when it says, “A strong woman is strong in words, in action, in connection, in feeling..” Those are exactly the traits that Anita Hill had!

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    • yes! you make a good point– male or female– everyone has a right to come forward if they are being harassed…the poem is from an incredible book by marge piercy *the moon is always female*– if you want to read more by her!

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  7. One important point that stood out to me was the fact that the panel of fifteen white senators thought it was unthinkable that Clarence Thomas would ever say “pubic hair on my Coke.” This ties into Personal Testimony is valid,where a woman’s word doesn’t hold the same weight as a man’s. They gave Clarence Thomas the benefit of the doubt because he was a man. I also think it is important to speak out and challenge what you believe in, because if you won’t, who will?

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    • great point, juan! yes- personal testimony is valid– and this was considered more important in thomas’ case (when he actually made no personal testimony– just discounted the validity of the testimony) rather than anita’s…and agree– you have to speak out. and if you do, you provide the window often for others to speak– as anita did

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  8. I definitely enjoyed reading this blog! I am simply amazed by how brave Anita was for standing up and speaking truth to power. Just knowing that she stood strong, even after she received death threats and was labeled a “liar” by most of the public, is simply heroic. She did it because she knew she had to do it, and she was willing to suffer for it. I believe that shows true bravery, because it is not easy to stand up for something when you know you could be humiliated for it. I truly admire her bravery. I also truly appreciate anyone and everyone that stood by her side through all of the chaos.

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    • Exactly. I like that you highlight how it is not easy to stand up when you believe you might be humiliated. It is hard. Your post was very passionate. Thank you for writing it!

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  9. I enjoyed reading this blog and found it to be inspiring. “Speaking truth to power” is such a powerful statement we all need to strive more to live by. I think Anita Hill’s life is a testimony to the idea that one person really can make a difference. We tend to fall victim to the idea that one person can’t make a difference and as a result we silence ourselves against power. Anita’s actions influenced other people to try and make a difference.This reminds me of the coalition building idea we discussed in class. It is amazing how many sexual harassment cases doubled after she spoke out, and how many women ran for and won office. If Anita hadn’t sacrificed her own safety and life, like so many other key figures through out history, I can’t help but wonder what this country would be like today. Even though we still have so much progress to make, I think it is important to always appreciate how far we have come.

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  10. I enjoyed reading this post; it was quite interesting! I definitely agree that Anita Hill’s journey made a powerful statement in United States history. It was inspiring to know that even though she had all odds against her, she was still determined to have her story heard. We often become discouraged from speaking on what we believe in, and standing for what’s right; however, Hill proved otherwise, and I found that to be very courageous. Her story sets a significant example for society. It proves that despite the negativity a person may encounter, it is still possible make a statement and create a unification that will help others.

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    • Great post. Yes it certainly true that when we believe we might encounter negativity sometimes that stops s… And often we have to really believe it is important enough to speak out in order to speak out. And that’s what Anita did. You are correct. She believed her story would make a difference and it did. Nice noticing in your post.

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  11. I am saddened and ashamed that this is the first time I’m learning about Anita Hill. I faintly remember her name being referenced in rap songs (specifically Kanye West). Yet, I never made much of an effort to research her. It’s disheartening to see how Clarence Thomas used his race to oppress Anita Hill. By rebranding the situation as a “high-tech lynching of uppity blacks” he moved the focus from Anita to himself. He was able to turn the tables and make himself the victim. It was no longer an issue about sexual harassment, it was an issue of historical and institutional racism. I can’t help but think of how this is a perfect example of our matrices of domination. Even though Thomas was oppressed by his matrix of domination, he was successful in oppressing others.

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    • Excellent understanding of the matrix of domination… Very well done. I’m glad that you were able to find out about Anita Hill through my blog. I think you would enjoy seeing the documentary as well. I felt your understanding of the issues in your post was astute and your comments very insightful.

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  12. Wow I can’t believe that Anita was speaking her truth and was ridiculed for it, but I admire her for her strength to continue on. Her daily resistance from people trying to bring her down is her activism. I enjoyed reading your blog and the poem at the very end was a great way to tie everything together in your post!

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    • Very good noticing in your post… Yes daily resistances is activism and that’s what she was practicing. I’m glad you like the poem. That is from Marge Piercy’s book *the moon is always female* if you’d like to read more.

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  13. This story reminds me of something I learned in a Deaf culture class I took. Our identities are made up of different intersectionalities. We are a combination of all the identities that we identity with. For this case, the White Senate members feared that they would be labeled as racist if they didn’t elect Clarence Thomas. That fear overrode their opportunity to truly search for the truth in regards to Anita Hill’s testimony of sexual harassment. It goes to show the hierarchy of importance within the minds of these senate members. A woman’s testimony and possible sexual harassment is easier to ignore and cast aside than the possibility of having racism allegations made against the senate.

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  14. This post was a excellent one and it taught me more about someone who ive heard so little about. Its odd that Ive only heard so little of her even though t she made a huge impact on the U.S. Anita Hill was a very fearless women who was determined to be heard no matter what. It is also sad how Clarence Thomas try and make himself seem innocent, while he was not. If not for Anita Hill speaking out, the workplace sexual harassment issue wouldn’t be that important.

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    • you are absolutely right… You make good points in your post… And it’s true –sexual harassment is a huge issue today and it was a huge issue before …people just weren’t talking about it and Anita’s testimony alllowed the issue to come out into the open. Very nice post.

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  15. I truly commend women like Anita Hill and Susan Hoerchner, for there courage. This was my first time hearing of Anita’s story and it was defiantly a powerful one. Though she did not win, her testimony gave other women courage to fight for women’s rights. Anita’s personal testimony started a movement of brave women standing up for what’s right. It allowed women to connect with one another, which is an amazing accomplishment.

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    • it is an amazing accomplishment to get women to stand together– you are right!! anita was not trying to win per se– but you are right in suggesting that it felt like she was on trial as she did not “win” the opinion of the senators in retracting thomas’ confirmation to the supreme court.

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  16. I feel like Anita Hill’s story can be applied to what we’ve learned in class. For example, Anita’s voice about the harransment she endured from Clarence Thomas is personal testimony is valid. Anita’s daily resisitance is activism is her sticking to her story and testimony even though 7 out of 10 people did not believe her. Hill felt that it was very important for her to have her voice and heard, whether that meant getting death threats or support. I feel that one first has to fail in order to open up the door to everyone else. People start to lose their fear and start to fight for what is right.

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    • yes- the statistic thata 7 out of 10 people did not believe her really stuck with me, too. i wonder if it is true that someone has to fail first– you may be right– i never thought about it that way– but it is true that anita’s ‘failure” to dissuade the senators in confirming thomas’ appointment did make everyone sit up and take notice of sexual harassment– because she did not unseat the confirmation–but her actions went on to start a movement and change police re: sexual harassment

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  17. This is a great story/history. Years later people look at this situation and don’t understand why not everyone believed Anita Hill and why it wasn’t taken seriously. But we live in different world now, things change, people’s view also change. Now days Anita’s testimony would catch everyone’s attention and I believe Clarence Thomas wouldn’t have a chance to become a Supreme Court justice. It’s very upsetting that there were women who could support Anita, but they didn’t get a chance to express themselves. I absolutely agree that women then and now should stay together and support each other. If in 1991 there were less than 98% male in Senate, things could be different. I’m glad that it’s a part of history and people now it, because there is a saying that states “we need to know history in order for it not to happen again”. I loved the poem about strong women, it’s strong. I would love to see the documentary and find out more about Anita Hill, she sounds like a strong woman who was able to speak truth to power.

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    • I would hope that would be true– that if this situation happened today Clarence Thomas would not have a chance and Anita Hill would be believed. I’m not entirely sure– but I’m heartened that you believe this! I hope you do get to see the documentary– it’s powerful.

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  18. It’s really upsetting that Anita Hill’s life was threatened for speaking the truth. A lot of times you hear about African Americans sticking together because they’ve been very discriminated against in the past. But Clarence Thomas, a black man, was getting the upper hand in the case because he was a man. I also can’t believe that 7 out of 10 people did not believe her, but many other people did. We can definitely see that Anita speaking truth to power changed the world because women won seats in the U.S Senate and the House of Representatives. Millions started coming forward with sexual harassment cases and awards given to victims nearly quadrupled. Anita Hill speaking up and making her testimony valid gave others the courage to speak up as well. She is such a strong woman for speaking up and doing what was right, even if her life would be threatened for doing so. I also thought it was so great that you got to meet Susan Hoerchner! What an experience that must have been. I hope I get a chance to see Anita Hill’s documentary!

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  19. This is the first time I have heard of Anita Hill, and in my African American History class I studied Clarence Thomas. None of the allegations were brought up in this history book, which was about the details of African Americans within the United States. It’s interesting to me that the nomination of a Black man to the Supreme Court is more important then the truth of his character. It is important to acknowledge the history of African Americans, especially those figures in the government, but shouldn’t we also know the truth about the charges he was faced with that were dropped. In my class, I read of the importance and honor of Clarence Thomas, and if it weren’t for Marie Cartier’s post, and GWS 350 course, I would have to continue to recognize this man as an important, honorable person in our history. Too bad Joe Biden shut this down. It really shows me the gender inequality women face in government.

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  20. Oh wow…I’m amazed that you studied Clarence Thomas and did not hear of Anita Hill!! That sure says a lot! Thank you for sharing that… Agreed. It is horrible that Joe Biden shut down the testimony and silenced the other witnesses….!!!

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  21. Hi Marie —

    I’ve been out of town, so this is the first chance I’ve had to read your excellent post. I remember those hearings very well and hope I’ll get a chance to see the movie. Like most feminists in 1991(?), I wasn’t shocked that Thomas was confirmed, but I was deeply saddened. I thought we had come further than that in our r/evolution. I knew Anita Hill’s life would be difficult from the moment she opened her mouth, but I didn’t remember that 70% of Americans believed she had lied?!? That statistic shocks me even today. Quoting Marge Piercy’s poem was a wonderful way to end your piece. _The Moon is Always Female_ is also my favorite volume of her poetry.

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    • agreed. I found it shocking and sad that she knew and statistics supported it that 70% of people felt she had lied…yes marge piercy’s poem about how hard it is to be “a strong woman” really made sense

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  22. I find it unbelievable that Anita Hill’s testimony against Clarence Thomas was not regarded as the truth. Also
    that there were other women willing to testify along sides Anita Hill and were not given the opportunity to do so. I was relieved to read that this unjust event was not in vain, for it contributed to record number of women running for public office. Also, the statistic of sexual harassment cases doubling was very interesting, since it shows that women were more willing to speak their truth. Anita Hill’s contribution will not go unrecognized, especially with the release of the documentary. Thank you for sharing, I was born in 1991 and if it wasn’t for you I don’t know if I ever would of known about Anita Hill’s powerful truth to power. Also, this is my first time commenting on a blog.

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  23. This was a very eye opening and empowering post. I think sometimes when people have a vision or a problem we often see it as ” I ” can’t make a diiference I am just one person. Well in reality every change starts with one person and one idea. I think Anita Hill really proves this to be absolutely true if we do not speak up we will not be heard. This issue of sexual harrasment is really important it happens to many people whether it is verbally be made or actually physically, I think it’s very important that we speak up for what is not right. The fact that you incorporated the statistics in sexual harrasment casses really puts this into play for me and goes the show how much change can be and will be made over the years.The poem you incorporated was really powerful, what stood out to me was “What comforts her is other’s loving
    her equally for the strength and for the weakness… Strong is what we make together”. This is definitely true being strong is something that must be made in coming together to make somthing happen, to make a change, to speak up for one another. You had a really amazing opportunity in being able to attend this event Proffessor.

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    • i agree…it was amazing…esp. to see her family and meet one of her key supporters…i love the poem by marge piercy…u can read more by her in the book *the moon is always female*

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  24. I was born in 1991 so I did not have the privaledge to watch Anita’s case. I have heard of it though and your post has actually educated me more on the case. I can not wait to personally see the documentary myself. To learn and see what life had become for Anita Hill after speaking out for the greater good. I do believe Anita was right in speaking out. It may have affected the life of her loved ones as well as her own. But in the end it caused women to react inorder to make a change. Perhaps Anita was the spark that led all those women to gain their chairs in both the Senate and House of Representatives. I also think it must have been exciting to sit so close to Anita’s family for the showing of the documentary. What a great opportunity.

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  25. There are too many cases similar to those of Anita that have occured where the victim is the one that is attacked and the abuser left free to continue his day to day activies (or hers). However, Anita is far from a victim, she is a warrior, she is strong, and incredibly influential in what she did and how she took the oppresion set upon by those who set out to bring her down. The fact that she did not quit speaks volumes to her strength to move forward and fight. I am incredibly happy that she does not regret what she did because if it wasnt for this one powerful woman then these ideas might have not been put up for disscussion and this topic needs much more things to work at. And thank you for placing her story here while also celebrating what her actions have done.

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    • you are welcome. agreed- if not for this on woman’s actions… it really is true- and her story proves it– one person can truly make a difference.

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  26. This read was very empowering. I remembered hearing about this case in Middle school and high school, I mostly remembered something about the jargon used with the coke can and pubic hair, but because of an age/maturity difference I didn’t really understand what was being said about Anita Hill except her testifying about a man who sexually harrassed her and that many people hated her because of it, which I couldn’t understand why. Now as an adult I see the importance behind her voice.
    I guess people were angry because it appeared that a “black woman was trying to keep a black man down” (just thinking of it from a Afro-Amer stereotypical stand-point). From the person who hated her for speaking out, I believe persons were so busy protecting him and that “once in a lifetime” opportunity/advancement for a Black man, that they failed to protect her, a victim of sexual harassment. That’s disheartening. So I’m happy that Anita Hill spoke TRUTH TO POWER. I’m also happy that she was happy with her own decision. It was needed. Everyday, women and men, and women especially are victims of sexual harassment. To this day, men feel like they can say what they chose to women because they are in power. Men feel it’s just words, I guess. My sister has been a victim, and in my work place, a bank, a teller and underage (16yrs old), I was too sexually harassed by a male through words. It’s amazing how men on a daily basis feel they can say whatever they want and laugh it off as a joke. It’s not okay though, and no one takes its serious because it’s just words, but words are powerful. Words strike emotion. So it was important Anita Hill spoke out, and it saddens me that she wasn’t even heard because of the “race card” Thomas tried to pull on the justice system. It amazes me they were more worried about being viewed as racist than protecting her and women like her or even men in the same situation.
    It’s just raises a question about right and wrong and it’s validity. If you continue making good/ right decisions morally, Than you defy what’s wrong, so there would be no need to be worried about the wrong that may come. Abide by what is right, and I you shouldn’t have any fear. I’m confused to why they feared they would be viewed as racist. Again, though I am happy Dr. Hill didn’t fear And did what she felt was right, because it caused other great doors to open for other women, and other women to speak out and heard. It is true we all need to stand together. It’s power in numbers

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  27. agreed- it is power in numbers…and that is why as she spoke out she gave courage to others as they would no longer be the only one… i’m sorry this happened to you and your sister..i know so many women this has happened to. thank you for sharing a bit of your story on the blog.

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  28. I only wish that I would have learned about Anita Hill sooner! The outcome of her story is disappointing, but her journey is so impassioned and inspiring! I am sad to know that not more people were able to support her in 1991, or at least not enough people with power to make sure her case went through and she was able to be victorious. However, I am glad to see that she was the trailblazer that led so many women to fight for themselves, whether it be in their personal lives, or in the political eye. I am now certainly looking forward to seeing her movie, and encouraging everyone I know to see it as well! She is a true inspiration to not only women, but to everyone who is struggling to find their voice in society, or even in their own social circle. Hopefully this movie will makes it way across the nation and will lift the spirits of those who feel they are losing the battle with their own abuser.

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    • thank you for your strong comment! please let me know if you see the film and what you think…i especially was moved by the segment at the end with the blue dress…

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  29. Even today women still face discrimination in the media and the court system when it comes to rape and sexual harassment cases. Women are often victim blamed and are at fault for being taken advantage of, (for what they are wearing, being intoxicated, or not being taken serious by the pursuer when they say “no”, etc) while the aggressor is often talked about how his future was so bright and how his life will forever be ruined by these accusations. I feel that more people (young women especially) need to be more aware of the Anita Hill case because it can lead to more social change where the aggressor is seen as the person in the wrong and the victim’s motives are not questioned but believed.

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  30. Because I was born after the Anita Hill case, I never heard about it until reading this blog that Joe Biden had shut down the case. It surprises me that when he was running with Barack Obama, his past mistakes of shutting down such an important social case was never mentioned in the news. Rather, it was ignored and excused for all these years. This unjust behavior and secrets has happened too often in the past and is continuing to happen today. There needs to be a change in how sexual harassment cases are handled and need to be treated as serious as murder cases. We still live in a patriarchal society where the man’s word is commonly taken over a woman’s, giving women no voice and little reason to think that they will get the justice they deserve.

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  31. jessica- agreed. the fact that joe biden did this was unknown to me even though i was very much aware of the anita hill case when it was happening. it is shocking to realize that this was not brought up when biden was being considered for such a high profile position– the assumption being that the fact that he shut down the hearings was not considered “a big enough deal” to de-rail his nomination is frankly shocking.

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  32. I think this is a great! I never knew about this until now. I remember you talking about this and it intrigued me into wanting to know more. Its humiliating and crazy to know that Anita Hill had to go through this. A case like this should should have never been put off and forgotten. Cases such as these are essential to make a difference and speaking the truth of power. This comes to show that till this day men over rule woman. We have a voice that is heard through the voice of a man, and in that case can be overturned or misguiding. I feel that even though the results may not have been in her favor, her legacy continues. Hopefully in the future, cases like these won’t be dismissed and only answered.
    Color was an issue back then and thats what caused her to fail. In the end it doesn’t matter what color we are. Who are we to judge what is acceptable? Why let the color of our bodies dictate our individual thoughts, emotions, and most of all power. Color expresses the truth that our ancestors traveled the life before us. We are mere clones of our own with their spirit.
    Anita Hill lives forever in the truth and power of women who aspire for justice.

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    • agreed. I love your last sentence. I am so grateful that her story is being heard by an entirely new generation of women through this important documentary.

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  33. //However–history/herstory has shown that Hill’s brave act of “speaking truth to power” was not in vain in 1991. In 1992, a record number of women ran for public office and won. In the U.S. Senate, eleven women ran and five won seats–including one incumbent candidate. In the House of Representatives, twenty-four women won new seats. 1992 was the “Year of the Woman.”//

    I think it’s super interesting and kind of amazing that one woman speaking out can spark such a change. Anita Hill’s speaking out about what happened to her made such a difference in so many people’s lives. It definitely speaks to the power of personal testimony. Hearing this woman’s story inspired many others to better their own lives and that’s a truly powerful thing. Representation is so important. When people started to see that a woman’s words were considered, they started to believe their own might be worth consideration.

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    • I love your last sentence. Yes– one person’s truth can spark many people to speak the truth and also many people to hear the truth!

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  34. I really wasn’t fully aware of this case, given that I Was young when it happened, but I really feel that it is completely unfair that she was not taken seriously just because that the Senate is 98% male.
    But I do have to say that for her to not regret standing up despite being up there alone, because sometimes things do need to be said, and not saying them, despite how hard it can be to stand up there alone and say them and feel like it hasn’t really done any good – you have started the process to make people think and that is the first step. I agree your last sentence “If not for those who stand with us, we stand alone.” That is so true!

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  35. I really enjoyed reading your blog. I believe it is extremely important for women of all ages to see and be aware of our progress as women. It is so important that we keep promoting and having conversations about gender equity. Anita Hill stood up for all women of all ages. I am sure that there were many men that sexually harassed women and felt there was nothing wrong with it, but Anita Hill fought and gave women a voice in the workplace! She is an incredible woman that till this day carries herself with dignity and an incredible belief that she did what was right and good.

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  36. Reading your blog about Anita Hill was very eye opening. I did not really know much about the details of this case, but it is very empowering to see how she made the statements that she did and stood up for herself. Sexual harassment in the work place is not ever okay and everyone, man or woman, should be able to work in an environment where sexual harassment is not a problem. It was very important that Anita chose to take a stand even though she knew that it was her statement against a mans statement because she showed other women that they do have a voice and they can use it.

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  37. I think Anita Hill was so brave to stand up and voice what she felt was her truth, and as a woman speaking in front of 98% political men, and especially as a Black woman, that takes courage. She knew her story could not go unheard, and proves that personal testimony is valid and she proved it when victims of these cases awards were doubled as time went on.

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  38. yes- the statistics of change following her testimony are so important to lift up

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  39. Although this is before my time, reading this post gave me a better sense of how important this was when it was happening. I would watch a T.V show titles I Love The 90s and remembered the comedians commenting on the event. It was lightly talked about and very brief. It didnt go into detail.
    I can’t believe how unjust and bias it is for this nation to allow such behavior coming from a man in Government. This nation really needs to see look at whats important like human rights, enviormental protection, equality, and a thriving market place. Instead of war, nuclear weaponds, and geneticly modified food. Glad I’m a college student and that i’m working on getting a professional title so I can stick it to the man!

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  40. Before reading this blog, I never heard about Anita Hill. This makes me sad, because i have learned a lot this year that I feel that i should have known about a long time ago. The word i would use to describe Anita is courageous. She stood up for what she thought was right, even if she had to suffer for it. I like that she leaned on her friends. Many of the strong, don’t like to lean on others for help, but I think it shows a great sign of strength if you do. Im looking forward to seeing this film. I think Anita is a great example to anyone who feels that they need to act, but who are fearful to do so. Whoever you are, you have the ability to act, you just have to first get past yourself.

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  41. Good info. Lucky me I ran across your website by chance
    (stumbleupon). I have saved it for later!

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