I remember exactly how I felt 27 years ago when I testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee with a panel of women from Planned Parenthood to oppose Clarence Thomas’ confirmation and support Anita Hill’s testimony.
Then as now, a woman’s credibility was pivotal to the outcome. Was Anita Hill fantasizing her embarrassing sexual taunting by Thomas? Was Dr. Christine Blasey Ford mixed up in her recollection of an assault in the upstairs bedroom when she was fifteen years old?
In 1991 I seethed with anger as I faced the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee, certain that no matter what we said, we would not be heard. They had already made up their minds. They had the power. We did not.
One Senator later gave his assessment of Anita Hill saying that she was a “little bit nutty and a little bit smutty.”
Some things have changed between then and now.
My anger with the Kavanaugh hearing was somewhat appeased by the four women on the Democratic side of the aisle, but surged again when I counted the all-male Republican side – because gender does make a difference. Women tend to identify with the victim in cases like this. Almost every woman in America has experienced some form of sexual assault, or at the very least sexual harassment. Women are more likely than some men to understand Dr. Ford’s trauma and her reluctance to expose her story to public examination.
It was ironic that it was Dr. Ford who was calm and under control in her testimony, while Judge Kavanaugh was angry and emotional. I wonder what the public reaction would have been if their behaviors had been reversed.
It as progress that a majority of Americans now claim to believe her.
But one solution tp the gender disparity, is to elect mote women.
And that’s just what may happen in the mid-term election.