The Power of One Voice: A Review

Everyone should go see Anita, a recently released documentary that revolves around Anita Hill's controversial 1991 Senate hearing on the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court of the United States. As most people know, in the hearing, she testified about Thomas' unwanted sexual advances towards her while she worked for him in the early 1980s.

As Anita says in the film, "harassment is not really about sex. It's about power, and abusing it." After experiencing harassment, Anita reclaimed her power by using her voice. So often it can seem that one voice and one story do not matter. It seems easier to remain silent. But if we can find the courage to come forward and tell our stories, as Anita did, that courage can ripple outward.

The film shows how 20 years after the Senate hearing, Anita's courage continues to ripple outward.  It brings issues of sexual harassment and gender equality to the fore, highlighting both how far we have come as a nation, and how far we still have left to go.

In the early 1980s, sexual harassment was just beginning to be a viable legal claim.  The Supreme Court of the United States did not explicitly recognize sexual harassment in the workplace as illegal discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 until 1986.

Through the 1980s, the Court continued to scale back the robust discrimination protections of the Civil Rights Act, until November 21, 1991, about one month after Anita Hill's mid-October testimony, a perhaps guilt ridden Congress bolstered anti-discrimination laws with the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

Despite progress, sexual harassment remains a widespread problem today.  In particular, students of a variety of ages are still experiencing educational environments permeated with harassment and discrimination, as the documentary highlights.

Recently, the Federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) found that officials at an East Texas high school were wrong to punish a student who reported she was raped by another student on campus.  OCR required the school to revise its Title IX policies to prevent similar future occurrences.

Charges are pending against Carnegie Mellon University for similar violations of discrimination laws.

Through speaking out, these students, like Anita Hill, reclaimed their power and helped pave a path of equality for future students.

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Anonymous

No respect for her no matter what she says. Isn't she the one that went on witch hunts for gay people in the 70's?
Unless she at least appears to openly regret it, I'm sorry to say I can find no esteem for her.
One right doesn't make a horrible wrong go away and, no, that doesn't mean I approve of sexual harassment.
Since we're on the topic, how the hell did someone who DID such a thing become a goddam Supreme Court justice? That's just bs, the biggest load I've ever heard - and I've witnessed some mighty bs in my years working in public service.

First they let rapists run free, then they put sexual predators on the Supreme Court. I think finally solves the puzzle of what seemed wrong with the current SCOTUS.
He's one of the two you could throw out of the Supreme Court on their heads; it won't do any more damage, you couldn't traumatize their brains more than is already evident.

I think that if you did something like that, it should be a reason to force you off the bench at the Supreme Court. Not that anybody cares what I think. I just say it anyway. Too much, in most cases. I have glossarhea: a runaway tongue.

conservative an...

The Aclu is an embarrassment. They are a total disgrace. They are taking the side of a woman without any proof. They are attacking Clarence Thomas because he is a conservative.

Everyone knows that Anita Hill is a liar. She was put in there to sabatage Thomas' hearing and derail his nomination.

I thought the Aclu was suppose to be about fairness. Obviously not if it doesnt fit into their bitter, angry, left-wing radical agenda. What a disgrace.

The Aclu will be to afraid to print this. Hey they are nothing but radical liberals.

Anonymous

I was quite young during the hearings, probably 20. I watched every moment, and Anita Hill is one if the most brave women I have known of. She HAD to come forth because Clarence Thomas was becoming a Supreme Court Justice! I was blatantly sexually harrassed as a matter of course in the 80's. I would have done the same, had these men been in line for such a responsibility.
I just love Anita for what she did, and it broke my heart that Thomas was appointed.
I recruited CEO's for technology companies. If one made an advance, the issue wasn't personal, it was how the lack of judgment would play itself out.

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