POLITICS

Anita Hill: Why Has No Presidential Candidate Been Asked About Gender Violence?

The law professor said the issue of sexual violence "needs to be addressed" because it is a systemic problem.

Anita Hill wants to know why there have been no questions about sexual violence posed to Democratic presidential candidates in the lead-up to the 2020 election

“We have been listening to the presidential debates, and I’ve been trying to keep track and I haven’t heard one question about gender violence posed to the candidates,” Hill said at Fortune’s annual Most Powerful Women Summit on Tuesday afternoon. “That needs to be addressed.” 

The law professor and feminist icon explained how the Me Too movement pulled back the curtain on systemic sexual abuse and said the country can’t ignore it. Gender violence, she added, has a “ripple effect” on all areas of life, including equal pay, paid family leave, childcare and more.  

“We’re not just talking about individual behavior,” Hill said. “We are talking about systemic problems that have become embedded in our practices, policies, our contracts, every aspect of our work lives.”

Hill referenced the hashtag #MeTooVoter, recently created by Me Too founder Tarana Burke to galvanize conversations about sexual violence in the U.S. 

“Two years ago, women took to the streets, and one of the reasons is because of the issues raised by the Me Too movement,” she said. “We are a powerful force.” 

Hill later addressed the controversial confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. When an audience member asked how the Kavanaugh hearings affected her, Hill responded that they hit her with “profound disappointment and sadness.” 

“The perception that so many people had ... was that we haven’t made any advances in 28 years,” she said. “And I know that is not the case, and I think we all know that, but then when we had the opportunity to display it, it didn’t happen.”

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