For those familiar with Anita Hill’s 1991 testimony against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, history seems to be repeating itself.
President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court has been accused of sexual assault by three women as of Wednesday. The first, Christine Blasey Ford, is set to testify Thursday alongside Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who denies the claim, with no FBI investigation or additional witnesses to support her account.
In 1991, Hill’s claim that Thomas sexually harassed her was similarly belittled. Ford, however, has the benefit of coming forward in the age of #MeToo. In an interview with the Associated Press, Hill said that regardless of the hearing’s outcome this week, society has made progress.
“Remember, #MeToo is about raising awareness,” she said. “Just because the Senate’s awareness hasn’t been raised, doesn’t mean that the rest of us haven’t evolved and learned.”
Still, Hill said she finds it hard to believe Thursday’s hearing will be fair. Without an FBI investigation or witness accounts to provide context, Hill said not all the information is being presented.
“I believe it is designed to pit his word against hers,” Hill said of the hearing, “and we know that [he] has all of the power of the presidency behind him. And she doesn’t.”
Ford publicly accused Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her when the two were at a small house party in high school, a claim Kavanaugh denies. President Trump and other top White House officials have attempted to discredit Ford’s allegation over the past week, arguing it’s a political ploy to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote.
“There’s a chance that this could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything,” said Trump on Monday, fully standing behind his nomination. “In my opinion, it’s totally political.”
Hill acknowledged that having a few women on the Senate Judiciary Committee is an improvement from the days of her own Senate hearing, but argued there is still a long way to go.
“The overwhelming vision of the Senate Judiciary committee is still largely white and male,” Hill told AP. “We know that even a few women can change the conversation, so we have to keep pushing to make sure that representation is truly representative.”
“It’s not a short-term project,” she added.