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"There's still so much to go": Attorney and professor Anita Hill on the fight against gender violence

Anita Hill on combating gender violence
Attorney and professor Anita Hill on her new book and combating gender violence 05:46

Attorney Anita Hill says the country has made "some progress" when it comes to combating gender violence since her landmark sexual harassment testimony to Congress. But she also says that "there's still so much to go" 30 years later. 

In her new book, "Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence," out from Penguin Random House, the professor takes a look at the bigger picture of gender-based violence and how to move forward as a nation. 

"I think where we are right now is that we know there's a problem," Hill told "CBS Mornings" on Tuesday. "We say we're against it, but when it comes down to it and we have to act, we're not necessarily ready to hold people accountable and I mean even hold our institutions accountable."

In 1991, Hill testified that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas — her former boss — sexually harassed her. Thomas denied wrongdoing and went on to serve on the nation's highest court, where he still works today. 

Hill says that since her testimony, the ongoing fight against gender-based violence "has been evolving," although she thought that by now "it would be over."

"When I testified, people didn't even know that there was such a thing as sexual harassment and then the people who knew about it didn't know it was against the law," Hill said. "They didn't know what they could do about it even though it was against the law."

Now, she says, "we've moved forward as a country. We've learned more, have better knowledge."

But still, she noted that "we're still leaving too many opportunities for people to abuse folks in the workplace" and says the issue is "a very inclusive problem," citing rapes on college campuses and increased intimate partner violence during the pandemic. 

"There's not enough response to it," she said. 

A good place to start in terms of addressing the issue, Hill says, starts with teaching children. 

"We give children wrong messages," she said. "We tell girls that if a boy picks on them, teases them, pinches them, pulls their bra straps, or pulls down their pants, it's because they like them ...That's where we're grooming them essentially for abuse."

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