By JOCELYN NOVECK , AP National Writer
“A lot is different now,” Hill, 62, says of the year since the movement was launched, following scandalous revelations about producer Harvey Weinstein. “A number of powerful men have been held accountable. I don’t think any one episode is going to define a whole movement.”
Besides, she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Tuesday night, “Remember, #MeToo is about raising awareness. Just because the Senate’s awareness hasn’t been raised, doesn’t mean that the rest of us haven’t evolved and learned.'”
In the years since she sat in that bright turquoise suit, in front of an estimated 20 million TV viewers, and calmly and deliberately recounted her allegations of workplace harassment against Thomas, Hill has been somewhat of a reluctant heroine to many women, living a quiet academic life at Brandeis University for two decades now. The Kavanaugh hearing, in which Christine Blasey Ford will detail her allegation of a sexual assault from when she and the judge were teenagers — a charge he denies — has trained the spotlight on Hill again, as people recall her 1991 ordeal and discuss similarities.
Hill herself will be nowhere near Washington when Thursday’s hearing takes place. She’ll be in Salt Lake City, where she was giving a lecture Wednesday evening at the University of Utah.
Asked what advice she might give Ford, Hill is typically measured in response.
“Our circumstances are very different,” she says. “And I try not to give blanket advice because these situations are just so personal. I don’t know her, I don’t know her state of mind, the entirety of her story. It’s unprofessional as a lawyer but insensitive as a human being, to mete out personal advice to someone you don’t know.”
One thing Hill does know, she says, is that the session will be stacked against Ford.
“It’s hard for me to imagine it can be fair,” she says, criticizing the lack of an FBI investigation and allow witnesses to testify (only Kavanaugh and Ford will testify).
“Sexual assault does not happen in a vacuum,” Hill says. “There is a context.” Ford contends a drunken Kavanaugh groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party when he was 17 and she was 15. Ford says Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream.
A full investigation would provide context, says Hill, such as the culture of high school drinking that Kavanaugh may have been part of. “The reason I think it’s not going to be fair is that it doesn’t give you all the information,” she says. “And I believe it is designed to pit his word against hers, and we know that (he) has all of the power of the presidency behind him. And she doesn’t.”