Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Anita Hill on Kavanaugh allegations: It is still 'incredibly difficult' for accusers

Anita Hill on Kavanaugh allegations: It is still 'incredibly difficult' for accusers

According to an account in The New Yorker, the incident happened while Kavanaugh, now 53, attended the elite Georgetown Preparatory Catholic all-boys high school in suburban Washington.

Rallying to Kavanaugh's defense, 65 women who knew him in high school issued a letter saying Kavanaugh has "always treated women with decency and respect". Dianne Feinstein received a letter, which detailed the incident.

In a statement released to USA media, Kavanaugh rejected the woman's claim, made in a letter to the Democrats vetting his nomination, that he tried to force himself on her during a party. She described that Kavanaugh and another classmate, who were drinking, turned up music to cover up her protests and she freed herself and left the scene. Every other Republican in the Senate is expected to vote yes - and some Democrats from Trump-won states may join them - though it remains to be seen if the misconduct allegation will cost him any support.

In 1991, Anita Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee claiming Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her when she worked with him at the Education Department and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She said the person "strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision".


The FBI has since declined to open an investigation into the undisclosed allegations; forwarding the letter to the White House to be included in Kavanaugh's background check. The letter was also shared with Feinstein in July.

Shortly after Feinstein's statement was released, White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec criticized the timing. Judge Kavanaugh submitted a questionnaire of over 17,000 pages, participated in two full days of public Senate hearings as well as a private session to discuss his background, and then he answered an additional 1,200 follow-up questions. Thomas denied the allegations and he was confirmed to the bench.

Hill, now a professor at Brandeis University, argued that the Senate Judiciary Committee needs to establish a process to allow "anyone with a complaint of this nature to be heard".

Hill said Friday, "The reluctance of someone to come forward demonstrates that even in the #MeToo era, it remains incredibly hard to report harassment, abuse or assault by people in power".

Like this: