Mail

updated 11/18/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/18/1991 AT 01:00 AM EST

Correspondents were deeply divided in their reaction to Prof. Anita Hill's charges of sexual harassment against Judge Clarence Thomas (PEOPLE, Oct. 28). Many who believed the charges reported experiencing harassment in the workplace themselves. Those who did not questioned the timing of the accusations and the fact that Professor Hill had apparently remained on friendly terms with Judge Thomas.

ANITA HILL
I applaud Anita Hill and all the other women like her who have had the guts to stand up and tell their stories. I worked in an office with three men as my supervisors. I endured 11 months of lewd, offensive comments and unwanted touching and advances. After several threats that if I didn't do what they wanted, they would see to it that I was fired, one day I just walked out. I felt there was no way to win, and I had suffered enough. I understand why it took Anita Hill so long to come forward. It takes a long time to regain one's self-confidence and one's self-respect to put oneself through what she had to endure during the Senate hearings.
VALERIE L. LANK, Pittsville, Md.

If Clarence Thomas was as abusive as Anita Hill claims and really made her life so miserable, then she had a duty to blow the whistle on him, just as one has a duty to inform the authorities about a child molester—to prevent him from victimizing others. By keeping silent for 10 years, Anita Hill failed her fellow women. Is she a liar? Maybe not. But she's clearly a moral coward.
T.E.D. KLEIN, New York City

Sexual harassment in the workplace is the worst form of blackmail. I was a 26-year-old widow with a 4-year-old daughter to support when my boss was harassing me to sleep with him. I didn't, and I lost my job. I also lost my self-esteem, my income and my ability to support my child. But what made me really angry, and what makes me angry still, is that my boss was an attractive man and that the women in the office flirted with him outrageously. One even boasted of having slept with him. He was definitely getting mixed signals from the women on the staff. As long as you have men and women together in close quarters for long periods of time, these things are going to happen. Legislation won't stop it. There will always be people, male and female, who will ignore the rules.
CHARLOTTE KNOX, Vancouver, B.C.

Anyone who has dealt with the type of harassment that Anita Hill clearly did understands without question why she dealt with it in the fashion she did. The hearings confirmed her knowledge that she was the one with everything to lose and nothing to gain. As a woman in a male-dominated field, I have endured countless episodes of similar harassment. I made the same choice to "try to handle it myself" rather than put myself through a similar lack of understanding and support.
CONNIE HEWITT, San Carlos, Calif.

No, as a woman I do not understand "why Anita Hill stayed at her job, why she kept phoning Thomas." It makes no sense to me why any woman would follow him from one job to another if the alleged sexual harassment actually happened. While I thought Miss Hill's testimony seemed credible at times, what I do not find credible was that she maintained a cordial, professional relationship with him after her move to Oklahoma. What was she thinking?
CYNTHIA A. HYTHON, Rome, N.Y.

As a woman, I am angered by feminist ambulance-chasing lawyers insisting that it is my right to breastfeed my baby on the job, telling my coworkers that they can never include me in an off-color joke, and demanding that no one ever call me "hon." How can they expect employers to take women seriously when feminists insist that we have whining rights and can't stand up to the few obnoxious people in the office?
NAME WITHHELD

Your story on Anita Hill was very one-sided. Sexual harassment is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. However, it would have set a dangerous precedent if one person could emerge after 10 years and ruin a career with testimony that was inconclusive at best.
KAREN A. MULQUEEN, Lindenhurst, N.Y.

MARIE SARA BOURSEILLER
Bullfighter Marie Sara Bourseiller justifies the stylized butchery she performs on horseback as "a ritual, an art, a ballet," and claims that her work "takes passion, hard work and a love of animals and aesthetics." Coming from someone who enjoys tormenting and killing bulls while placing horses in danger of being fatally gored, this is a lot of bull.
ELIZABETH J. HAYES, Gardner, Mass.

This woman calls this a sport? It's a sport when they start arming the bulls with spears. By the way, I'll cheer for the bull.
MARY ANN BECKER, Cleveland

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