A New Poll on Sexual Harassment Suggests Why ‘Me Too’ Went So Insanely Viral

The “me too” hashtag exploded on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram this week after actress Alyssa Milano called for women to use it as a way to illustrate the scope of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Women—and some men—flooded social media with the hashtags, at times using it to recount instances in which they were abused.

A new ABC News-Washington Post poll out Tuesday shows why the campaign resonated with so many women: sexual harassment, especially in the workplace, is a full-blown epidemic.

It found that more than half of all American women—54%—have experienced “unwanted and inappropriate sexual advances” at some point in their lives. Thirty percent of women have endured such behavior from male colleagues and 25% identified men with sway over their careers as the culprits.

The poll found that, all told, 33 million U.S. women have been sexually harassed—and 14 million sexually abused—in work-related episodes.

Yet nearly all women—95%—report that male perpetrators of such abuse usually go unpunished.

The poll did provide some promising results: 75% of American call workplace sexual harassment a problem, while 64% deem it a “serious” problem—that’s an increase of 11 and 17 percentage points, respectively, since the last similar poll in 2011. But despite wider awareness about sexual harassment in the workplace, it remains prevalent—to an alarming degree.

Published in Fortune.

26th Annual ‘I Believe Anita Hill!’

For Immediate Release

Contact: Claudia Smith Brinson, 803-546-1982, or Jan Collins, 803-446-9632

Networking Event in Columbia

The 26th annual “I Believe Anita Hill!” networking event will be held Thursday, Oct. 12, in Columbia, to once again encourage women and men to stand up and speak out for justice and equality.

This year, the 75 hosts will introduce a new initiative, “Connecting Community.” The hosts, who are S.C. professional women and activists, know that many people want to volunteer but may not know where to turn to make a difference. “I Believe Anita Hill!” will make that easier by introducing potential volunteers and donors to vetted organizations that can support their values.

The 2017 event will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at 701 Whaley Street in Columbia. Admission is free and open to the public.

“I Believe Anita Hill!” is likely South Carolina’s largest networking opportunity for women. “I Believe Anita Hill!” is also the nation’s oldest continuous remembrance of Hill and her testimony. In 2016, 750 women and men attended.

The networking event celebrated its silver anniversary with Hill’s attendance; she also attended in 1997 and 2011.

Hill, an attorney, electrified the nation in 1991 at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing when she described alleged sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas, her former supervisor and then a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. At a Congressional hearing, Hill, who is African-American, was grilled aggressively by an all-white, all-male panel. That sparked a nationwide discussion on sexual harassment in the workplace as well as what was called the “Year of the Woman,” when more women than ever before ran for and were elected to Congress.

The first 10 years of the organization were dedicated to informing women and men about workplace issues such as sexual harassment and to empowering women to actively change any hostile work environment. Hosts then decided to broaden the mission to show concern about justice and equality, by encouraging women to push back and resist the continuation of unequal pay and unequal access, for example, to health care, to mortgages, to top corporate jobs or to board rooms.

The organization now enhances that mission with its “Connecting Community” effort.

“We know many people want to volunteer but may not know where to turn to make a difference,” said Barbara Rackes, an S.C. entrepreneur and coordinator of “I Believe Anita Hill!” “They may fear they don’t have the right skills or the ability to match their values and skills to the right organization.

“So this year we will mobilize 750 people to put their boots on the ground; we will connect them with the organizations just right for their donations and volunteer work.”

The 26th annual “I Believe Anita Hill!” networking event will be held Thursday, Oct. 12 in Columbia, to once again encourage women and men to stand up and speak out for justice and equality. This year, the 75 hosts will introduce a new initiative, “Connecting Community.”

“I Believe Anita Hill!” is likely South Carolina’s largest networking opportunity for women. In 2016, 750 women and men attended.

The 2017 event will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at 701 Whaley Street in Columbia. Admission is free and open to the public.

For more information, https://anitahillparty.com

Anita Hill comes to Columbia

Anita Hill, the young law professor who in 1991 sparked a nationwide conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace, visited Columbia last week. More than 700 women—and a few dozen men—came to hear her and cheer her on.

Professor Hill was the guest of honor September 15 at the 25th annual “I Believe Anita Hill!” Party, the longest-running, continuous event in the United States that voices support for Hill and seeks to highlight gender inequality issues.

Now a social policy and law professor at Brandeis University, Hill was introduced to the large, enthusiastic crowd as a “reluctant hero who stood her ground, and she told the truth.”

The event has continued to grow. This year’s party, which had more than 90 hosts, was the biggest yet. The nonpartisan gathering encourages women to network, to tell their stories, and to get involved in ways that help women and the community.

Hill told the crowd that “I want people to know that I truly have a blessed life. But don’t underestimate how difficult it is for people to come forward, even today. It is still difficult. The pain does not end, and in some cases, it is just the beginning.”

Hill said she is “eternally grateful” for the support she has received over the years. She told of one letter from a schoolteacher, sent to her shortly after the 1991 hearings, that predicted “there will be waves of women behind you.”

View the full article here.

Hundreds celebrate 25th anniversary of Anita Hill’s mark for women’s rights

wistv.com – Columbia, South Carolina

Hundreds were out in Columbia Thursday evening to look back on a major step in the fight for women’s rights.

Attorney Anita Hill was back in the Capital City to talk about the role she played in that struggle. It was the fall of 1991 when Hill went before lawmakers in the U.S. Senate. Hill testified that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who was a nominee for the office at the time, sexually harassed her while she was working under him at the U.S. Department of Education.

The event put a new focus on sexual harassment in the workplace. Hill and her supporters say since that time, they believe progress has been made for women in the working world. They do, however, say more needs to be done, including narrowing the wage gap between genders.

Click here for the full story and video.

I believe Anita who?

The I Believe Anita Hill Party was Sept. 15, and it has students thinking about the history of Anita Hill and what her story means for women everywhere.

In 1991, Anita Hill, a law professor at the University of Oklahoma at the time, came forward with allegations that Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court Justice nominee under President George H. W. Bush, had sexually harassed her during the time she worked for him at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“Anita Hill’s courage to speak out has been a catalyst for victims of sexual harassment to bring their stories to light and a remarkable leap forward for women,” Andy Herrington, junior computer and information science major, said.

Click here for the full story and to see photos.

Anita Hill party goers inspired by Hill, female presidential nominee

For 25 years, a Columbia group has gathered annually to mark the testimony of Anita Hill before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 about alleged sexual harassment by her former supervisor, Clarence Thomas, then a nominee for the Supreme Court.

This year, they heard from Hill herself and also considered the possibility of the first woman president of the United States.

Siegler, a freshman at Columbia College, said her male high school classmates in Aiken told her there was no way a woman would lead the country.

But, with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president, that possibility is “really inspiring,” Siegler said.

Hill addressed the packed gathering at 701 Whaley on Thursday, telling the mostly female crowd, “I don’t want you to forget (how difficult) it is for people to come forward even today.

Anita Hill to return to Columbia for 25th anniversary of historic hearings

In the aftermath of the hearings, a band of women met in Columbia to discuss how they might seize upon the moment conjured by Hill’s testimony in order to address the pervasive inequalities they felt existed toward women.

“We started getting together and talking about what we could do,” said Eve Stacey, another one of the original event organizers. “What we came up with was a social event, and networking. It started small. It has evolved over the years.”

Two large banners were strung up between trees spanning the entrance sidewalk to Smith’s home to welcome people to the first “I Believe Anita Hill” event as autumn approached in 1991. A table was set up so that people could sign in.

“The number of women who showed up was much more than expected. It was amazing!” Smith said.

Organizers endeavored to create an opportunity for women to come together, share their stories and build a network of mutual support. It has been 25 years since the inaugural gathering, and organizers’ hopes are high that the 25th annual “I Believe Anita Hill” event will continue to exceed expectations. Hill, currently a professor of law, public policy and women’s studies at Brandeis University, is scheduled to be present for this year’s event.

Hill also will be speaking at the University of South Carolina School of Law auditorium during her visit to Columbia.

Click here for the full story.

Sexual Harassment Training With Roger Ailes

Two high-profile lawsuits against Roger Ailes, the former Fox News chairman, have painted a shocking picture of brazen sexual harassment at the network. In her bombshell complaint against him, the former Fox host Gretchen Carlson said that he told her, “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago.” Last week, another former Fox host, Andrea Tantaros, filed her own lawsuit, stating that Mr. Ailes told her to turn around so he could “get a good look” at her and that she was harassed by other employees and even show guests.

The details both women lay out portray Fox as a place where sexual harassers roam free, grabbing or ogling whatever they fancy, with consequences brought to bear only on the victims who speak up.

Click here to read the full story.

After Ailes and Cosby, a Moment for More Women to Speak Up

In the fall of 1991, an obscure law professor named Anita Hill pushed the issue of sexual harassment into the public consciousness when she accused her former boss, the Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, of having repeatedly made lewd overtures toward her.

But the episode sent a mixed message, in the view of many discrimination experts. While it raised awareness about a corrosive workplace behavior, the intense backlash against Ms. Hill, not least from members of the United States Senate, suggested that women faced great obstacles in redressing such abuses. (Mr. Thomas denied the allegations.)

Nearly 25 years later, after a string of sexual harassment allegations that led to the ouster of Roger Ailes, the former chairman of Fox News, and a cascade of sexual assault accusations against the comedian Bill Cosby, some of those experts believe we may be approaching another Anita Hill moment.

The Ailes and Cosby cases, they say, could be influential among women across the work force not just because of the intrinsic power of these examples, but because they come at a moment of empowerment for women in their struggle for equality. And when women’s assertiveness produces dramatic results like the resignation of Mr. Ailes, it can inspire more women to follow the same path.

Click here for the full story.

Still Thinking About Anita Hill

It was a slightly out-of-body experience, watching the recent television series “The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” Part déjà vu, part lurid fascination and horror, it reminded me of watching “Anita,” the 2013 documentary on the law professor Anita Hill’s life during and after her testimony against the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in his confirmation hearings. I was a child when Simpson was found not guilty, in 1995, but I remember people I knew celebrating, people who believed that a black man’s triumph against a corrupt and racist justice system was overdue. Even though many of these same people acknowledged that Simpson probably did it, his release was seen as a necessary sacrifice. As an adult, watching “The People v. O. J. Simpson” was enraging. The judgment seemed like a betrayal of women’s bodies and women’s voices. Watching “Anita” was even more maddening: the proceedings were a betrayal not just of women but of a particular kind of black woman who had to navigate the landmines of both gender and race.

Near the end of “Anita,” there is footage of Hill speaking at an event at Hunter College, in 2011. After the speech, a young woman sobs uncontrollably as she asks Hill how she got through her experience. Her emotion is understandable: years later, the mistreatment of Hill is still shocking. In “Confirmation,” a recent HBO film about the Thomas hearings, that treatment was again in plain view on our television sets, making us question how much has changed. Kerry Washington, who played Hill and who was an executive producer on the film, was strikingly understated in the role. In what was a leap from her at-times histrionic character on the TV show “Scandal,” Washington nailed Hill’s reserved, soft-spoken way of speaking and her unobtrusive demeanor. If anything, the performance was too muted. As a viewer, I wanted to see Hill fight more, but what should have really happened, in real life, is that the country and the institutions of power should have fought against her less.

Click here to read the full story.

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