In 1991, Anita Hill began something that’s still unfinished work. The issues of gender violence, touching on sex, race, age, and power, are as urgent today as they were when she first testified. Believing is a story of America’s three decades long reckoning with gender violence, one that offers insights into its roots, and paths to creating dialogue and substantive change. It is a call to action that offers guidance based on what this brave, committed fighter has learned from a lifetime of advocacy and her search for solutions to a problem that is still tearing America apart.
We once thought gender-based violence—from casual harassment to rape and murder—was an individual problem that affected a few; we now know it’s cultural and endemic, and happens to our acquaintances, colleagues, friends and family members, and it can be physical, emotional and verbal. Women of color experience sexual harassment at higher rates than White women. Street harassment is ubiquitous and can escalate to violence. Transgender and nonbinary people are particularly vulnerable.
Anita Hill draws on her years as a teacher, legal scholar, and advocate, and on the experiences of the thousands of individuals who have told her their stories, to trace the pipeline of behavior that follows individuals from place to place: from home to school to work and back home. In measured, clear, blunt terms, she demonstrates the impact it has on every aspect of our lives, including our physical and mental wellbeing, housing stability, political participation, economy and community safety, and how our descriptive language undermines progress toward solutions. And she is uncompromising in her demands that our laws and our leaders must address the issue concretely and immediately.