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    "They Did Believe Me" — Dr. Christine Blasey Ford And Professor Anita Hill Think They Were Believed But Ignored

    "It will happen again — someone will come forward. And so, what does [this] say to people that are likely to be victimized?"

    Twenty-seven years apart, Professor Anita Hill and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford both came forward in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to provide testimony about their experiences with then-recent Supreme Court nominees Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, respectively.

    Jon Kopaloff / WireImage, Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

    According to Dr. Hill's 1991 hearing, Thomas sexually harassed her when she worked as his adviser on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Then, In 2018, conversations surrounding abuse of power were reignited when Dr. Blasey Ford testified that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the '80s.

    Recently, both women sat down with Cindi Leive and Salamishah Tillet on their Because of Anita podcast, a four-part series on the legacy of Professor Hill's testimony, to discuss their lives since exiting the courtroom and hopes for the future. Though the two educators first met a year after Dr. Ford's testimony, this episode is the first time they've invited listeners in, marking their first public conversation.

    Two women. Same vow. 27 years apart. Professor Anita Hill and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford talk about their shared experiences, their lives beyond the hearing rooms, and their hopes for the future—in their first-ever public conversation. https://t.co/xDMv82ZVj6

    Twitter: @themeteor / Via Twitter: @themeteor

    During the conversation, Prof. Hill remembered watching Dr. Blasey Ford take her oath, just as she had done decades beforehand, and said, "[I wanted] to grab certain folks on the stage by the shoulders and say, 'Why can't you get this? Why aren't you getting this?'"

    Professor Hill speaking at a podium
    Craig Barritt / Getty Images for Audible

    Then, one of the hosts asked a turning-point question: "What do you think it would take to believe survivors, believe women when they come forward with their stories?"

    "I think they do believe," Prof. Hill said forthrightly. "I think they're afraid of believing, so they may even say they don't believe. But I think somewhere inside they do believe, but they're just not willing to do anything about it. They don't want to take the responsibility — especially if you're talking about someone who is really powerful who is being accused. They don't want to take responsibility for fixing the problem."

    Professor Hill giving her testimony before Congress
    Universal History Archive / Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

    "So even when someone says, 'Well, I just don't believe it's true,' I'm not sure that I believe them. Because if you ask them, 'Well, if it were true, what would you do about it?' They typically don't have a response," she continued.  

    "I was struck when Anita said that you think that people do believe. It reminded me of sitting in that room, in that chair, and seeing on people's faces, and thinking they did believe me," Dr. Ford added. "If I had to bet, I think most of them did. That day, I did feel that the people in the room did believe me."

    Christine Blasey Ford holding her right hand up to swear to tell the truth before testifying before Congress
    Pool / Getty Images

    Today, the consequences from these two hearings continue to permeate throughout our society — not just in these two women's lives.

    "In 2018, the consequences were evident again, as they had been for me in 1991, where people were saying to me, 'I no longer have any confidence in our courts, in our systems. I have no confidence in my representative, that they understand my experience,'" Prof. Hill said.

    Professor Hill speaking
    Phillip Faraone / Getty Images for Fortune

    "In one proceeding, they were able to diminish the confidence that people have in two of our government bodies: the courts and the Senate. ... And what that means is people lose confidence in decisions that are made and policies that are put in place."

    "There are also consequences in terms of what's next," she continued. "Have people given up on the idea that the government will step up and respond appropriately with a process that is transparent so that you can prepare? And finally, are there going to be protections afterward against retaliation?"

    Professor Hill being sworn in before her testimony
    Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

    "My job was threatened. My life was threatened. And seemingly, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the members took no responsibility for responding to that. And as Christine has pointed out, it'll happen again. It will happen again — that someone will come forward. And so, what does that say to people that are likely to be victimized?"

    Prof. Hill calls for a transparent proceeding process — an idea Dr. Blasey Ford agrees with, saying: "The afterward, when you are experiencing the retaliation and the smearing and the ongoing media, you feel like you are being investigated and that you are being evaluated for the Supreme Court. That was so unnecessary and damaging to my family."

    Pool / Getty Images

    "Why I testified is just as important to me today as it was 30 years ago," Prof. Hill concluded. "The Supreme Court matters, and who's on the Supreme Court matters, and I really want to believe in the integrity of that body, because we now more than ever see how important the decisions that it makes are to all of our well-being."

    Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Getty Images

    You can listen to the full interview here.

    If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE, which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search your local center here