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What Joe Biden Hasn’t Owned Up To About Anita Hill––Sexual Harassment is Still the Accepted Norm

By April 30, 2019May 24th, 2019No Comments
Sexual Harassment SCOTUS




Here is the story that broke this week-for survivors—for all of us—for those who love and support survivors.

What Joe Biden Hasn’t Owned Up to Yet About Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas– This Was A Lynching of the Sexual Harassment Victim.

“I did everything in my power to do what I thought was within the rules,” Joe Biden has said, of his handling of Anita Hill’s accusations against Clarence Thomas, in 1991.

The message to women “is that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you,” if you speak up about sexual harassment or sexual violence. “You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured rather than hung from a tree,” said Clarence Thomas at his confirmation hearing. Any woman who dare come forward with allegations against a powerful man will be lynched. Just like Clarence Thomas said, but really, he was actually referring to what was done to his accuser, not to himself.

And this got me churning…



  • While former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday said,  “I take ‘responsibility’ for the treatment of Anita Hill” during Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ 1991 confirmation hearing; it didn’t quell my outrage on behalf of survivors.
  •  “I believed her from the very beginning, but I was chairman,” Biden said in a “Good Morning America” interview that will air tomorrow. That statement was also meant to soothe, but it still didn’t quiet my unease about how women are treated who speak up about sexual harassment.
  • “She did not get a fair hearing. She did not get treated well,” said Biden. You’re right Mr. Biden, Anita Hill was treated abominably by the Senate Judiciary Committee yet your “regret for what she endured” still leaves me sickened by her treatment.
      • Following is a selection of real questions and comments lobbied against Anita Hill, by Sens. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Alan Simpson (R-WY), Howard Heflin (R-AL). during the hearing:
        • Specter: “You testified this morning that the most embarrassing question involved — and this is not too bad — women’s large breasts.”
        • Heflin: “Are you a scorned woman? Do you have a militant attitude relative to the area of civil rights?
        • Simpson: “The witness did not say anything to the FBI about the described size of his penis or the description of the movie ‘Long Dong Silver.'”
  • Biden said during the hearings,  “ I do apologize to the women of America if they got the wrong impression about how serious I take sexual harassment.” Hopefully, Mr. Biden and the other presidential candidates, you will do more than apologize to the women of America and you will, in fact through, judicial nominations, policy, executive order, Cabinet appointments, and through legislation, take sexual harassment very seriously.

While I am still livid over the lynching of Anita Hill by the all white men of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, I am more shattered by the realization that nothing has changed.

  • 28 years later, and the entire Joe Biden, Clarence Thomas, Anita Hill travesty of justice, repeated again, this time with sexual assault accuser Christine Blasey Ford, Senator Chairman Chuck Grassley (white, 88-year-old, male) and Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. (White, privileged, male).
  • The humiliation, the mistreatment of the accuser, the lone woman, calm, articulate Joan of Arc-figure, facing powerful men with pretend compassion, behaving like snickering teenage boys. The white bastion of men’s privilege and power, the old boys club rat-a-tat-tat, the fake Mohamed Ali man-punches, the immature sexual gawkiness, and the proverbial high five slaps on the back while degrading the victim.

The men’s club is in session ladies, and womenfolk beware: Y’all are outsiders, liars, witches, and bitches. ‘Scorned women’ we’d better watch our step.

Let the lynching begin folks. Let’s make sure every woman in America witnesses what happens to a woman who dares speak out, who dare point her finger at a man of power. She will be waterboarded with words, lynched in front of colleagues, destroyed and caricatured.

And as much as I’d like to point the finger at one white man, Joe Biden, I know, in the depth of my soul, that we live in a society where the majority of women are sexually harassed, and nothing at all is done about it. We can’t blame it on Biden! How convenient it would be to dump the culture of male sexual privilege on him.

Sexual Harassment is Such a Part of Every Woman’s Day, It Seems “Normal”

The truth is that the sexual harassment most of us experience on a daily basis is seen as “normal.” Part and parcel of what women learn to expect and put up with. It is often dismissed because it’s considered not as egregious as sexual assault or rape. So when Anita Hill testified about her pain and humiliation at the hands of the nominee, now Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Biden, and men across America were mystified. It wasn’t that they didn’t believe Ms. Hill. It was that subconsciously or consciously they just didn’t see anything wrong with Thomas’ alleged behavior. What’s a few pubic hairs on a Coke can, (hehe), showing your female employee some porn, (funny, cool guys, right?)  talking about porn stars and their big breasts (who-hoo), referring to your penis as “Long Dong Silver” (AMA). These are such everyday workplace behaviors that it is easy to see why so many are still puzzled at our unvanquished rage.

How Common Is Sexual Harassment?

A New Survey Finds 81% Of Women Have Experienced Some Form of Sexual Harassment (Online survey launched by a nonprofit called Stop Street Harassment)

Sexual Harassment at Work

Thirty-eight percent of women said they experienced sexual harassment at the workplace. Thirty-five percent said they had experienced it at their residence. These experiences are more likely to be assaults and the “most severe forms” of harassment.

Sexual Harassment in Public Spaces

The Stop Street Harassment new online study also looked into locations where people experienced harassment. The majority of women––66%––said they’d been sexually harassed in public spaces. These include verbal harassment and physical harassment, like touching and groping.

Verbal Sexual Harassment

The results released in the report show that 77 percent of women had experienced verbal sexual harassment, and 51 percent had been sexually touched without their permission. About 41 percent said they had been sexually harassed online, and 27 percent said they had survived sexual assault.

It is our new and old normal. Women expect it, we shut up, and we put up with it. Why? Because we feel we do not have a choice. Speak up, lodge a complaint, go to HR or bosses, and our jobs, our family, and our survival are at stake. Confront a man on the street, and you’re seen as an unattractive woman who doesn’t know her place. Report that a teenage boy is harassing you, and risk being socially punished, shunned, bullied and cyber castigated.


Sexually harassed whistleblowers at work experience retaliation 75%of the time. Those brave enough to report sexual harassment are blackballed, banned, fired and demoted. Our reputation can be ruined at the click of a social media post, chat room, or industry gossip. We are enslaved by sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct. We are owned, our bodies, our minds, and our survival.  With limited options, we do what any mistreated, enslaved, caged person does. We try to “forget” the abuse, “deny” that it even happened, “blame” ourselves “hide” try to force ourselves to “forgive” but we never quite seem to accomplish it. Instead, we take lower paying positions, quit, withdraw from the workplace, stay silent, move, change our lives to avoid harassers and reduce the risk of being harassed, all with life and career-crushing consequences.

Legal Ease


Legal Ease for You

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal forms of sexual provocation, like getting unwanted comments of a sexual nature. It also includes physical harassment of a sexual nature in the workplace or learning environment, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Sexual harassment does not always have to be specifically about sexual behavior or directed at a specific person. For example, negative comments about women as a group may be a form of sexual harassment.

However, some forms of sexual harassment are not as clearly delineated by state and federal laws. Laws are often out-of-date and need to include cyber sexual harassment, online sexual harassment, and bullying.

Teasing or Offhand Comments

Although sexual harassment laws do not usually cover teasing or offhand comments, these behaviors can also be upsetting and have a negative emotional effect. Just because a behavior is “legal” doesn’t make it right.

What does sexual harassment look like?

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances. The harasser can identify with any gender and have any relationship to the victim, including being a supervisor, boss, direct manager, indirect supervisor, coworker, teacher, peer, friend or colleague. It can happen in person or online. At home by someone you know and trust, or in the public square by a stranger.

Some forms of sexual harassment (according to RAINN).

•    Making conditions of employment or advancement dependent on sexual favors, either explicitly or implicitly.

•    Physical acts of sexual assault.

•    Requests for sexual favors.

•    Verbal harassment of a sexual nature, including jokes referring to sexual acts or sexual orientation.

•    Unwanted touching or physical contact.

•    Unwelcome sexual advances.

•    Discussing sexual relations/stories/fantasies at work, school, or in other inappropriate places.

•    Feeling pressured to engage with someone sexually.

•    Exposing oneself or performing sexual acts on oneself.

•    Unwanted sexually explicit photos, emails, or text messages.

What is the difference between sexual harassment and sexual assault?

Sexual harassment is a broad term, including many types of unwelcome verbal and physical sexual attention.

Sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior; often physical that occurs without the consent of the victim. Sexual harassment generally violates civil laws—you have a right to work or learn without being harassed—but in many cases is not a criminal act, while sexual assault usually refers to acts that are criminal. Some forms of sexual assault include:

•    Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape.

•    Attempted rape.

•    Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetration of the perpetrator’s body.

•    Fondling or unwanted sexual touching.

Good News

The good news is that we are now talking about it. Thank you #MeToo Movement. Thank you to every woman who put on a pink hat and marched. Thank you to all the woman who refuse to be silenced. Thank you to every reporter, anchor, news  outlet, that cover this issue.

A Few Facts About Sexual Harassment (as reported by NPR)

•    Most victims of sexual harassment (between 87-94%) do not file a formal complaint.

•    Victims Suffer From Anxiety, Depression

•    Sexual Harassment Begins At An Early Age

Most women (and men) first experience sexual harassment early in life—during preteen or teenage years.

•    Sexual Harassment is “Thriving on the silence of women”granting impunity to perpetrators


My prayer that should Mr. Biden be the nominee or the next President of the United States, that he takes the lessons learned from the Anita Hill travesty of justice. That he use this experience to save survivors, show respect for survivors and turn pain into hope, injustice to justice.  That Mr. Biden be a leader on the issues of sexual assault/sexual harassment and enact long overdo, comprehensive legislation to give all sex survivors access to fair and equal treatment under the law.

That it be enacted that all of us have the human right to be free of sexual violations and violence in whatever form such violations occur.

And lastly, please, Joe Biden, be the good man that those who love you say you are. Please right, this wrong and do right by victims of sexual wrongs.

We have the same prayer for all presidential candidates.

Comprehensive changes are needed to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to protect and provide justice for victims of sexual harassment. 

Civil rights status and recognition need to be given to survivors of sexual violence, abuse, assault and harassment with the passage of The Civil Rights Act for Victims of Sexual Violence 2019 (“CRAVSV”).

Please let your heart go out to all survivors living in shame, pain, and guilt. Let us remember that we (you, me, all of us) are the only ones who can make a difference, demand justice, bring compassion to victims, and hold perpetrators legally and morally accountable.

  • We ask that you donate even $1.00 for victims of child sex abuse. (The cost of an item at The .99 Cents Only Store).
  • We ask you not to forget the plight of survivors of child sexual abuse, sexual assault, harassment, and rape. We ask that you write to your U.S. Senator and Congressperson to support The Civil Rights Act for Victims of Sexual Violence (“CRAVSV”).

My personal prayer and life’s mission is that some good will come out of it.

From pain to purpose.

Shari Karney, Attorney and Founder of ROAR as ONE, a non-profit organization focusing on the rights of action for survivors of all forms of sexual abuse and sexual harassment.

 “From pain to purpose. Being sexually abused at such an early age was the scar on my soul.  But I feel like it ultimately made me into the person I am today. I understand the journey of life. I had to go through what I went through to be here. But now it’s time to take action to save the next generation of women and children from what we went through. Shari Karney, Esq. Author of an upcoming memoir, “The Perfect Family—From Pain to Purpose.”

Please support survivors and Roar as One ( Our mission is pursuing justice for survivors of sexual assault and violence.

We need to come together, speak up, stand up, rise now. ACT AS ONE. ROAR AS ONE.





We must recognize and enact laws that protect the basic human right to be free of sexual assault and sexual violence.  Enact nationwide Federal Civil Rights Legislation for victims of sexual abuse, rape, child sexual abuse. Join our Civil Rights Movement to get legal rights and recognition of sexual violence as a violation of human civil rights. Help us remove the Statute of Limitations nationwide for sexual assault, sexual abuse, and continuous child sexual abuse, in both civil and criminal courts. Allow survivors and sexual violence victims to file in Federal court.

©Legal Education Unlimited, Inc. (This is a publication of Legal Education Unlimited, Inc.)