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Thank You, Anita Hill
by AB
Wednesday Apr 25th, 2018 8:33 AM
Op Ed piece regarding sexual harassment in the workplace and the connection to the #MeToo movement.
Anita Hill is a forerunner to the hashtag ‘MeToo’ movement. We need to acknowledge her contribution to the awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace. Anita’s epic battle against the status quo planted the seed we see blooming in our solidarity against abuse and oppression.

In 1991, Anita Hill was called to publicly testify before the U.S. Senate in the Supreme Court Justice hearings. Her role was to speak to the character of her boss Judge Clarence Thomas. Judge Thomas had been nominated to the Supreme Court. During the televised proceedings, she revealed examples of disdainful behavior on the part of Thomas just 10 years prior. The examples were graphic and disturbing – yet not unfamiliar. Most women (and some men) in the workplace at the time had silently experienced much of the same type of sexual harassment. Anita’s public testimony was our voice.

In the wake of the hearings, anti-sexual harassment legislation was passed. Intense media coverage fanned the fires of discussion and opinion. People became aware. New sexual harassment trainings were developed for the work place. It got better. But was it enough?
No. An EEOC report released in 2016 statistically predicts 1 in 4 people are affected by sexual harassment in the work force. In addition, the study shows 75% of employees who spoke out against their abusers faced some form of retaliation.

Anita’s plight shed light on the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. A seed was planted 26 years ago. The seed grew as the creation of the “Me Too” movement in 2006 by civil rights activist Tarana Burke as a way to build solidarity among survivors of sexual abuse shows us. The movement went viral in 2017 when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted #MeToo in support of a fellow actor’s accusation of sexual harassment against a film producer. We use Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to unite us in solidarity. We publicly debate our culture of harassment. Without the example of Anita’s bravery, we would not be so quick to add our voice to social media platforms. Thank you, Anita!


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