Anita Hill nailed why we need to rethink who's to blame when it comes to sexual abuse.

In October 1991, Anita Hill sat before five white male senators during Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court confirmation hearing and bravely spoke her truth.

As her former supervisor, Hill said, Thomas had sexually harassed her in the workplace. Her recollections and testimony — given long before the #MeToo era helped change the way we see sexual harassment and assault — were criticized, questioned, and brushed aside by congressional leaders. Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court shortly after.

But Hill's voice was instrumental in helping pave the way for survivors to speak up.


Photo by Jennifer Law/AFP/Getty Images.

Nearly 27 years after testifying, Hill — now a professor at Brandeis University — sat down with John Oliver on an episode of "Last Week Tonight" to chat about how we can keep moving forward in ways that empower and protect survivors.

"There's been a tremendous amount of change," Hill said. "There's been a change in public attitude, and there's been a change in the amount of information that we have about sexual harassment."

But for all we've learned, Hill still gets an incredibly frustrating question.

"So far, much of the approaches we've had is to put all of the burden on women," Hill noted. "One of the questions I get that just sort of sticks out with me is: 'How do we raise our daughter to make sure that she doesn't set herself up to be a victim of sexual harassment?' These are the kinds of things that we're thinking — 'If we fix her, then she won't encounter this problem.'

"In reality, she is not the problem."

Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images.

"She is not the problem" — men are. Can we keep saying that until it truly sinks in?

Because instead of focusing on teaching men about consent, society often tells women that their clothing or the amount of alcohol they consume are to blame for the actions of abusers. It's nonsensical.

More awareness campaigns are urging men to speak up and stop sexual assault when they see it. The #MeToo movement has challenged Washington and Hollywood alike to rethink how we view and respond to harassment and assault. So we're headed in the right direction in many ways.

But still, Hill believes men "need to step up."

"At this point in time, there are no innocent bystanders," she continued. "If you are aware of something — you acknowledge it, you know it's wrong, but you don't do anything about it — then it's the same as participating in it."

Watch Hill and Oliver's interview, which starts at about 17:50, below:

More
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular