When Anita Hill spoke out about the sexual harassment that she had experienced in the workplace, she inspired a national movement encouraging women around the country to do the same. So now, in the wake of Bill O’Reilly’s departure for Fox News as he has been surrounded by allegations of sexual harassment at the network, she is speaking out on the need to go further than just encouraging women to speak up when harassment happens.
“The problem with sexual harassment isn’t just because people behave badly,” Hill said during a USA Today interview published Wednesday. “The problem is our inability to develop productive responses to it, and that exists because of our culture that accepts it, because that culture then gets built into how we approach solutions to it.”
“It gets built into the choices we make about who can be believed,” she added. “And even when we find sexual harassment exists, the solutions are very often to move the women who have complained to other positions.”
She went on to say that we have made so much progress as a society but that men are still excused for their behavior, and the excuses need to stop.
“We have a whole host of people accepting that as just something men do as opposed to understanding it as predatory behavior that is not only immoral but is also illegal,” Hill explained. “We had some social forces coming together but we had a cultural excuse that overlaid [Trump's] statement or his explanation.”
As for what we can do about it, Hill said that the best thing to do was to make sure that these women’s voices are heard and not silenced.
“The idea that these kinds of behaviors can stay hidden is fading because there are ways to get them out. I think the key is to keep pushing,” Hill said. “When you deal with someone like Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, the key is for people to keep coming forward.”