I'm sure this letter finds you in good spirits. After all, it would seem all the country is in a tizzy about the thought of you running for the Democratic presidential nomination of 2020. It's understandable since you are an accomplished man who has dedicated his life to serving his country. No one doubts your integrity and patriotism in this arena. Least of all me.
I also do not doubt your sincerity in defending yourself against the allegations currently being hurled at you. You have apologized that women misconstrued your intentions, promised to do better and immediately went into joking about your predicament as if to say, "It is all in the past. Now, let us move on." I personally do not agree with that sentiment, but it is up to the individual voters to decide. As for me, no amount of blaming others or spin will ever allow me to vote for you.
I will not vote for you because of your lack of leadership during the Clarence Thomas hearing.
Recently you've stated, "To this day, I regret that I couldn't come up with a way to get her the kind of hearing she deserved." While you are entitled to remember the hearings as you chose, that is not at all the way I recall it.
I was in college back then. I watched every bit of those hearings. Now, I don't need to go over those comments made by you all. There's nothing to be gained by repeating all the lurid details you all forced her to describe over and over again on live television. We all know what happened. Most people remember that you and other male senators prevented other women from coming forward to tell their stories of sexual harassment at the hands of Clarence Thomas. It's even well known that instead of extending the hearings to obtain further testimony, you pushed to conclude and hold a vote. That vote, that is, that put a known sexual harasser on our Supreme Court.
It's all in the past I know, and I could forgive you of it if only it hadn't helped to shape the circumstances we find ourselves in today. I'm actually writing to tell you of what your misfeasance during that hearing has caused. Your lack of leadership as chairman of that committee had a direct affect on so many Americans. My experience is but one example. In 1995, while attending the U.S. Border Patrol Academy, I was sexually assaulted by a classmate. Like other women attending the academy who were assaulted by classmates and instructors, we were not allowed to call the police. Instead we were told to file a grievance by filing a complaint with Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC). Those who did often saw their employment stop because of the investigations. Others were conveniently failed by those same instructors who had assaulted or harassed them. But more often than not, we did not file. Why? It wasn't just because we new we would be fired. It was because we learned what happens to women who file EEOC grievances, what we should expect if we told anyone what a colleague or superior had done to us. This behavior still continues today in the academy, and is not limited to just the Patrol.
This is what we learned from the Anita Hill hearing that you chaired.
We learned that even the head of EEOC could harass a woman and not be held accountable. That our pain did not matter. That our trauma that was forced upon us would at worst cause us to lose our jobs, at best force us to be humiliated before all as we would have to relive and retell our shame over and over again. American women learned from your Anita Hill hearing that it didn't matter how educated we were, how strong, how high upon the ladder we had climbed...we learned that no woman's testimony would be believed before a man's.
More than anything, your behavior in that hearing taught young American men that they could continue to behave that way, that they would be believed. That they could harass and assault women of any age, any shape or size, any color, anywhere and at any time they wanted. It is why rape kits sit on shelves untested, why the media worries more about a rapist's future career than the victim's pain. It is why victims are accused of "asking for it" because of the way they dressed or because they drank too much. It is why even when they are convicted, assaulters receive light sentences if any at all. They learned that their fellow men would come to their aid by preventing their accusers from testifying, by silencing their voices. They learned that the courts, government agencies, the Congress and even the Supreme Court of the United States would not hold them accountable.
Your lack of effort, of duty, of morality back then has wrought millions of young girls and women more harm than you could imagine. It is why we have the Harvey Weinesteins, Brett Kavanaughs and Brock Turners of today. It is your legacy that has brought us a president that is an admitted sexual assaulter.
You are part of this. A large part of this. This is your legacy.
That is why you will not get my vote.