On October 11, 1991, a poised young law professor sent shock waves through the nation as she sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee intrepidly testifying to the lewd behavior of a Supreme Court nominee. Twenty years later, Academy Award winner Freida Mock brings us ANITA, which crystallizes the sexist power dynamics in the room that day and unravels the impact of that lightning-rod moment on Anita Hill's life and the broader discussion of gender inequality in America. Contemporary interviews with Hill and her allies, and unsettling archival footage, reveal the way her attempt to report confidentially on Clarence Thomas's conduct quickly became a perverse and vicious public attack on her character and credibility. Hill's hearing became a charade of justice. Yet her audacity to speak out detonated a national debate about sexual harassment that revolutionized gender politics.
For many women in the United States, sexual harassment continues to be a factor in the workplace and is a difficult subject for them to raise. This is especially true for immigrant women who lack authorization to work in the US and may fear deportation if they complain. In 2011, Human Rights Watch published Cultivating Fear: The Vulnerability of Immigrant Farmworkers in the US to Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment documenting rape, stalking, unwanted touching, exhibitionism, and vulgar or obscene language by supervisors, employers, and others in positions of power. Most women farmworkers whom Human Rights Watch interviewed said they, or other women they knew, had experienced such treatment. Most said they had not reported these or other workplace abuses for fear of reprisals.