This guilty verdict vindicates the women who spoke out. But we must go a long way before we can be sure this won't happen againby Sian Norris / February 24, 2020 / Leave a comment
“Weinstein denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.” That disclaimer has been added to all the pieces every journalist has written about the former movie producer since October 2017—when Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey in the New York Times, and Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker, revealed dozens of women had accused Weinstein of sexual assault, harassment, and rape.
Not anymore. Now we can write it in big, bold letters: Harvey Weinstein is guilty.
The director was found guilty of third-degree rape and a criminal sexual act in the first degree. He was found not guilty on three other counts—but it is likely he will still go to jail. It’s now hoped that other women will come forward to press further charges.
For so many of us, the verdict was met with a sigh of relief. This feels like the first major legal victory for #MeToo—the movement of women speaking up and speaking out about a lifetime of harassment, sexual assault and rape that has been covered up, condescended and ignored. Finally, women are seeing some form of justice done.
Women who had alleged sexual violence against Weinstein, including in incidents dating back decades, had seen their careers trampled upon and their dreams fade to dust. He is said to have told women “I’m Harvey Weinstein—you know what I can do.” And do it he did. No one felt able to speak up, until one day women started… and they didn’t stop.
Make no mistake: #MeToo was a galvanising moment. It was a time when women and girls from across the world started saying what had been done to them, and exposing the power structures that prevented us from saying it before.
But at the same time, it often felt like women were being forced to produce their most painful memories and experiences, to prove again and again the reality of patriarchal violence, only for nothing to happen. In the UK we saw one minister resign as Secretary of State for “falling short” of the standards expected of his post, but remaining in his seat. We saw male journalists get a telling off for behaviour they themselves say women are “entitled to consider completely unacceptable,” before being given a platform to recount how hard it all was for them. Meanwhile,…