cover image Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence

Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence

Anita Hill. Viking, $30 (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-29829-9

Gender-based violence is a systemic problem that, if left unsolved, will be passed “onto our children like some cruel inheritance,” according to this incisive and impassioned account from Brandeis law professor Hill (Reimagining Equality). Recounting her career as an anti-sexual harassment activist after testifying against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991, Hill details how universities protect their finances and reputations by creating anti-harassment policies that provide institutional cover without changing student experiences, and contends that young people have “inherited university and workplace cultures where gender aggression is practiced to the point of normalization.” She also highlights problems with relying on the criminal justice system to protect the survivors of sexual abuse, noting how racist stereotypes lead to the dismissal of allegations made by Black and Indigenous women, in particular. Throughout, Hill relates her personal experiences to the bigger picture, describing how the public response to Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against Brett Kavanaugh recapitulated her own experiences decades earlier, and expressing disappointment that Joe Biden’s 2019 apology to Hill did not address the impact her hostile treatment by the Senate Judiciary Committee had on the national psyche. Hill’s inspiring personal history, eloquently constructed arguments, and dogged persistence in shining a light on the topic make this an essential look at the fight against misogyny. Agent: Wes Neff, LeighCo. (Sept.)