Hill Speaks on Harassment, Decries Gender Stereotypes

Anita F. Hill, whose testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last October put Clarence Thomas's Supreme Court nomination in jeopardy, discussed sexual harassment before an audience of more than 200 people in Ames Courtroom at the Law School last night.

In her speech, Hill focused on two problems regarding people's treatment of sexual harassment.

One problem, Hill said, is that people are quick to oversimplify sexual harassment cases.

The issue involves "more than just good versus bad behavior or good versus bad people," she said.

"There is no perfect victim and no harasser who is all bad," she said.


In addition, Hill, a law professor at the University of Oklahoma, said that powerful members of society use sexual harassment as a tool to exclude the less powerful.

Sexual harassment functions "like a 'Men Only' sign," she said.

It is important to get rid of the "myth that [this exclusion and harassment] only occurs onconstruction sites," Hill said. She said thatharassment can occur in any job that hastraditionally been dominated by men.

In her testimony before the Senate last fall,Hill accused Thomas, who was confirmed to theSupreme Court, of sexually harassing her. Hillworked for Thomas 10 years when he chaired theEqual Employment Opportunity Commission.

Part of society's indifference towards sexualharassment, Hill said, stems from the fact thatsociety still accepts the image of women,especially Black women, as uncontrollable sexualaggressors.

"We are living in a society that wants toprotect men from sexually aggressive women," shesaid.

However, Hill said she has hope for the futurebecause women are now a viable political force.She said her hope is that the "seemingly paralleluniverses [those of the harassers and theharassed] will somehow converge.