CC students attend Anita Hill Party

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CC students attend Anita Hill Party

Gabrielle Reed, staff writer

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Columbia College students had the opportunity to support a good cause, learn more about how they can be an advocate in their communities and why they should vote Nov. 6.

Twenty-seven years ago, Anita Hill testified against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas for sexual harassment. Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee describing how Thomas would ask her sexual questions and discussed sexual details against her will.

The senators, who were white males, began to scrutinize her. They began to treat her as if she was the criminal. The senators began to victim blame Hill and their focus shifted from was she sexually harassed to instead was she a “scorned woman,” which Senator Heflin directly asked.

Questions like that from the senators went on for hours until it was time for Thomas to come before the committee.. Thomas denied all Hill’s allegations. After only three days of investigating Hill’s allegations, Thomas was sworn in as an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

Gabrielle Reed
Anita Hill speaks her truth.

Fast forward 27 years to 2018. We can see similarities between Anita Hill’s testimony and Christine Blasey Ford’s treatment before the same committee. Recently, Dr. Ford came out and said Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, sexually assaulted her at a party when they were both in high school while he was drunk.

People noticed the similar treatment both women endured during their testimony. Doing my own research, both women were portrayed as if they were crazy. “The similarities in rape culture still exist today,” said Ashley Thomas, the director of The Hive Community Circle. The senators were doing the same thing to Ford they did to Hill. They blamed her and shifted attention away from why they were holding hearings for a Supreme Court nominee.

Like Thomas, Kavanaugh was also sworn in. But that didn’t stop women from telling stories and protesting against those who are sexual predators.

Gabrielle Reed
We are still fighting for Anita Hill and we will fight for Christine Blasey Ford.

After Kavanaugh was sworn in, women marched at the front door of the Supreme Court telling their stories. We see women all over the world telling their stories with the hashtag #Metoo and telling those who have committed sexual assault #TimesUp. “It’s a wonderful feeling to be at the Anita Hill Party to see different people and hear their stories. It’s inspiring as a young woman in this era,” says Columbia College sophomore May Bligen.

Women are taking back their power by telling their stories and creating nonprofits that help survivors heal and move forward. People are motivated to help those around them who have been affected by sexual assault. “What motivates me to be an advocate are personal experiences, hearing people stories, seeing recurring events, and helping people who don’t have outlets to share their stories,” Meghan Thomas said. Most people want to be an advocate, but they don’t how to or the steps it takes in order in to be one.

Gabrielle Reed
Most women are too afraid to report if they have been sexually harassed fearful of losing jobs or not being believed.

“People have to start speaking out and showing up to events. The biggest way to be an advocate is to vote. Go out and learn who’s running for office in your area. People need to take a look at their jobs’, schools’ and governments’ sexual harassment policies. And people just need to check on each other,” said Vivian Agers, advocate for Every Black Girl, Inc.

People have to continue to have the conversation about sexual assault if we want a change in the world. Years ago sexual assault wasn’t even discussed, but now women are refusing to be silent. People who believed Anita Hill, now believe Christine Brasey Ford and they will continue to believe all survivors of sexual assault.

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