In 1991, when Anita Hill testified that that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomassexually harassed her, it was nothing short of earth shattering. Instead of letting the shame destroy her or pretend that it never happened, she took her case to Congress. This brave choice opened the door for victims of similar acts to get justice and ensure that the perpetrators got what they deserved.
Dr. Hill’s new book, Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence, was published in September. Building on her very personal history of experiencing gender violence, she explores such subjects such as bullying, rape, the constant threat to the LGBTQ community, and the mind blowing comparison to the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. In speaking openly about such topics that are often buried under the rug or not taken seriously, she is challenging the reader to speak up, speak out, and ensure that these injustices are finally given the spotlight they should have received a long time ago.
This book is nothing short of mind blowing. If there was ever a fire lit under our collective behinds, this book is the match. Thirty years ago, Dr. Hill opened the door, broke barriers, and inspired multiple generations of activists to stand on her impressive shoulders. She got the ball rolling, it is now up to us to finish the job.
Ms. Hirshman starts her book in the 1970’s, when women began to talk to each other and organize against men who took advantage of their female subordinates. She then moves forward in time highlighting a number of accusations of rape and/or sexual harassment against prominent men and the women who were brave enough to go public with the accusations. The list includes the 1991 Clarence Thomas Hearings and the accusations by Anita Hill, the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton Scandal, and the multiple women claimed that Harvey Weinstein took advantage of them sexually.
Reckoning is a perfect title for this book. While telling the story of these brave and bold women, Ms. Hirshman inspires the reader to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. She also pulls no punches, calling out politicians on both sides of the aisle, women who stay silent and men who continue to perpetuate this heinous act.
I have to be honest. I have mixed feelings about this announcement.
One could argue that among the Democratic candidates, he is politically one of the most qualified to run the country. He has been in government for nearly fifty years, eight of those years were as Vice President under Barack Obama. As a liberal Democrat, Biden checks off many of the boxes that liberal/Democratic voters look for in a Presidential nominee.
But still, there a few things that bother me.
His actions during the Anita Hill hearing don’t sit well with me. Granted, it was decades ago, the hope is that he has changed and learned from his mistakes. But it still bothers me that instead of giving this woman a chance to tell her story, she was treated like dirt.
The accusations of being too touchy with certain women. Granted, he did not go as far as Harvey Weinstein or Matt Lauer, but the fact that did not recognize the boundaries of personal space by these women sends alarm bells off in my head.
Do we really want another old White man serving the highest office in the land? It’s 2019, it’s time to give a woman or a person of color the opportunity to run this country. My fear is that many voters will default to Biden because he is the standard political leader instead of giving another candidate a shot at becoming President.
It’s only April, we won’t know for at least a year as to whom will win the nomination. But whoever they are, they had better be in for a fight, because you know who never backs down from a fight.
Throughout much of human history, women have been second class. Seen only as submissive help meets to the men in their lives, they had no rights and were often viewed as property. Part of being viewed as property or second class was being forced into an unwanted sexual act that very often left the woman in an emotionally and physically traumatized state.
Thankfully, things are starting to change. One of the women who is helping with this change is Christine Blasey Ford, a high school acquaintance of Judge Brett Kavanaugh who accused him of forcing himself on her when they were teenagers.
Below are the reasons why Dr. Ford should be believed:
Her testimony will have a way in determining if Judge Kavanaugh is ultimately confirmed to join SCOTUS and possibly change the course of American history for the better.
Her testimony will undo the damage that was done to Anita Hill testified about her own sexual assault experience at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearing 27 years ago.
Her testimony will prove once and for all that the time doesn’t matter. Those who force themselves sexually on another person will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, regardless of whether it is 36 hours or 36 years since the attack.
It will encourage past and future victims of rape, sexual violence and sexual assault to come forward and be public in their accusations.
It will make those who are thinking of committing such acts think twice, knowing the repercussions of this kind of offense.
As of today, Dr. Ford is scheduled to testify on Thursday. Until then, we can only wait and maybe speculate as to what Dr. Ford may or may not say.