Monday, October 8, 2007

Women Who Testified Against Anita Hill, Part VI

Here's another one of the women who testified against Anita Hill:
[Statement of Ms. Altman, former employee, Department of Education]

MS. ALTMAN: My name is Nancy Altman. I consider myself a feminist. I am pro-choice. I care deeply about women's issues. In addition to working with Clarence Thomas at the Department of Education, I shared an office with him for two years in this building. Our desks were a few feet apart. Because we worked in such close quarters, I could hear virtually every conversation for two years that Clarence Thomas had. Not once in those two years did I ever hear Clarence Thomas make a sexist or offensive comment, not once.

I have myself been the victim of an improper, unwanted sexual advance by a supervisor. Gentlemen, when sexual harassment occurs, other women in the workplace know about it. The members of the committee seem to believe that when offensive behavior occurs in a private room, there can be no witnesses. This is wrong.

Sexual harassment occurs in an office in the middle of the workday. The victim is in a public place. The first person she sees immediately after the incident is usually the harasser's secretary. Co-workers, especially women, will notice an upset expression, a jittery manner, a teary or a distracted air, especially if the abusive behavior is occurring over and over and over again.

Further, the women I know who have been victimized always shared the experience with a female co-worker they could trust. They do this to validate their own experience, to obtain advice about options that they may pursue, to find out if others have been similarly abused, and to receive comfort. Friends outside the workplace make good comforters, but cannot meet the other needs.

It is not credible that Clarence Thomas could have engage in the kinds of behavior that Anita Hill alleges, without any of the women who he worked closest with--dozens of us, we could spend days having women come up, his secretaries, his chief of staff, his other assistants, his colleagues--without any of us having sensed, seen or heard something.
See also Women Who Testified Against Anita Hill, Part V, Women Who Testified Against Anita Hill, Part IV, Women Who Testified Against Anita Hill, Part III, Women Who Testified Against Anita Hill, Part II and Women Who Testified Against Anita Hill, Part I.

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