Anita Hill wants everyone to focus on victims of sexual harassment not the perpetrators.
In an op-ed published Tuesday morning in The Boston Globe, Hill explained why it’s so problematic that a presidential candidate said he grabs women “by the pussy” and “just kisses” them without waiting for consent.
“What I learned in 1991 is no less true today and no less important for people to understand,” Hill wrote. “Responses to sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence must start with a belief that women matter as much as the powerful men they encounter at work or at school, whether those men are bosses or professors, colleagues or fellow students.”
Twenty-five years ago to the day of her op-ed, Hill testified in front of the Senate that then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her while he was her supervisor at the Department of Education. Today, Hill is a professor of Social Policy, Law and Women’s Studies at Brandeis University and an outspoken advocate for victims of workplace sexual harassment.
Since the leaked Donald Trump audio broke this past Friday, Hill wrote that she’s only heard conversations surrounding Trump and what this means for the election ― and that’s one of the biggest problems.
“We must understand the harm that sexual harassment and sexual violence causes,” Hill wrote. “Missing from the conversation this weekend, which focused almost exclusively on the character of the offender, was concern about the victims of sexual violence.”
Instead of discussing Trump, Hill urged people to take into consideration the women Trump is denigrating in the leaked audio:
At virtually every dinner table this weekend, people talked about what should happen to Donald Trump’s political ambitions. But little consideration was given to what impact the brutish behavior he claimed to have had on the women he victimized. How many of them talked about Arianne Zucker, the young woman in the leaked video who Bush cajoled into hugging the same two men who had just joked about forcibly kissing her? Did she know she was the butt of a sexual gag? Or did we wonder what happened to Nancy O’Dell, the woman who rejected Trump’s advances?
Trump’s misogynistic comments ― or “locker room banter” as the GOP candidate calls it ― are extremely “predatory and hostile,” Hill wrote. “To excuse it as that or as youthful indiscretion or overzealous romantic interest normalizes male sexual violence.”
We could not agree more.
Head over to The Boston Globe to read the rest of Hill’s powerful op-ed.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.