A government-supported #MeToo movement would have begun in 1991 had Joe Biden and his Senate Judiciary Committee “done its job” and taken seriously her allegations of sexual harassment against now Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill says.
In an opinion column for The New York Times posted Thursday, Hill, a Brandeis University professor, said “if the government had shown that it would treat survivors with dignity and listen to women, it could have had a ripple effect.”
“If the Senate Judiciary Committee, led then by Mr. Biden, had done its job and held a hearing that showed that its members understood the seriousness of sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence, the cultural shift we saw in 2017 after #MeToo might have began in 1991 — with the support of the government,” she wrote.
Instead, she noted, “far too many survivors kept their stories hidden for years.”
But Hill lamented recent discussion about her 1991 testimony has focused on whether Biden’s call last month helped repair the damage.
“Sexual violence is a national crisis that requires a national solution,” she wrote. “We miss that point if we end the discussion at whether I should forgive Mr. Biden. This crisis calls for all leaders to step up and say: ‘The healing from sexual violence must begin now. I will take up that challenge.'”
“The world didn’t really begin to come to grips with the prevalence of sexual abuse until 2017, when the millions of survivors who became the #MeToo movement demolished the myth that sexual violence was insignificant,” she added.