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Hundreds line up at U of U to hear Anita Hill the day before Kavanaugh hearing

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

UNIVERSITY OF UTAH – The woman who brought sexual harassment to the national stage speaks to a packed crowd at the University of Utah.

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Anita Hill became a national figure after accusing Justice Clarence Thomas of harassment in 1991, however, she didn’t want to compare her story to that of Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

“Any of us who came forward would like to have our stories heard and listened to and evaluated on the basis of our situation,” Hill says.

She backed up her claims that today’s hearing were not designed to be fair to Ford.  Hill says Ford was only given a few days to prepare statements, which is not enough time.

“No judge would allow, but, here we have a judge demanding it.  Not only is that judge, [Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman] Grassley, demanding it as a judge, but he’s also the jury,” she adds.

Hill believes there was a similar rush to judgement when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991.  She also criticized Senator Orrin Hatch for waving around a copy of the book The Exorcist while he questioned Thomas,  stating Hill may have copied some of her claims from that book.

“Just like today, they decided that staying on schedule was more important than getting to the truth,” she says, adding, “Access to equal justice for all is what was at stake in 1991 and it is what is at stake now.”

Historians say there are a lot of similarities between what happened then with what’s happening now.

The Senate Judiciary Committee that Ford will speak to is the exact same one that Hill spoke in front of in 1991.

History Professor Bob Goldberg says, “Not only is it the same committee, not only are three people who were on the committee back in 1991 still on the committee, but some of the same kind of accusations, comments and charges are being made.”

Goldberg says history doesn’t always repeat itself, but, it’s echoing loudly.

“She has the ability to reflect on what happened to her and also give us insight about the path, not only in the present, but the path ahead,” he adds.

At first, Goldberg says he was worried about inviting Hill to speak, since most college students weren’t alive when the accusations against Justice Thomas were made.  Plus, the #MeToo movement hadn’t reached its peak when they sent out their invitation.  However, ever since the accusations against Brett Kavanaugh came out, interest has gone through the roof.

“I’ve been amazed at how many people have now looked her up and found out who she is,” Goldberg says.

Goldberg believes Hill has recently seen some vindication after years of being vilified.

“I looked at her as the original ‘me’ of the #MeToo movement way back in 1991,” he adds.