Mothers, sisters, aunts, girlfriends, wives—millions of women shared the experience of having to wait tables, draw blood, argue cases, make sales, all while fending off the groping, the joking, the sexual pressuring, and the threatening of male bosses.
They were liberal and conservative; white collar and pink collar; black and white and Hispanic and Asian.
The most remarkable thing about the current tide of sexual assault and harassment accusations is not their number.
If every woman in America started talking about the things that happen during the course of an ordinary female life, it would never end.
Nor is it the power of the men involved: History instructs us that for countless men, the ability to possess women sexually is not a spoil of power; it’s the point of power.
What’s remarkable is that these women are being believed.
It was printed seven days after Kathleen Willey’s blockbusterinterview with Ed Bradley.
She had little evidence to support her accusations.
In some cases, their accusations are validated by a vague, carefully couched quasi-admission of guilt; in others they are met with outright denial. Believing women about assault—even if they lack the means to prove their accounts—as well as understanding that female employees don’t constitute part of a male boss’s benefits package, were the galvanizing consequences of Anita Hill’s historic allegations against Clarence Thomas, in 1991.
When she came forward during Thomas’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing and reported that he had sexually humiliated and pressured her throughout his tenure as her boss at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it was an event of convulsive national anxiety.
She said that she fought against Clinton throughout a rape that left her bloodied.
At a different Arkansas hotel, he caught sight of a minor state employee named Paula Jones, and, Jones said, he sent a couple of state troopers to invite her to his suite, where he exposed his penis to her and told her to kiss it.
Juanita Broaddrick reported that when she was a volunteer on one of his gubernatorial campaigns, she had arranged to meet him in a hotel coffee shop.