Yesterday, Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape in the third-degree and a criminal sexual act in the first-degree.
This is a significant victory for women around the world and a moment of celebration for sexual abuse survivors. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the voices of the silence breakers in and outside the courtroom,” the official MeToo Movement wrote in a statement. “Though he was not convicted on all counts, Harvey Weinstein will have to answer for his crimes.”
While it’s important to celebrate these wins, the work is not over. This verdict is far from the pinnacle of justice for sexual abuse survivors— it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
And it seems his accusers feel the same way.
“My testimony was painful but necessary. I spoke for myself and with the strength of the 80-plus victims of Harvey Weinstein in my heart,” Annabella Sciorra said in a statement. She testified in the trial that Weinstein raped her in 1993. “While we hope for continued righteous outcomes that bring absolute justice, we can never regret breaking the silence. For in speaking truth to power we pave the way for a more just culture, free of the scourge of violence against women.”
Rose McGowan, a trailblazer in the case who accused Weinstein of rape, told The Hollywood Reporter, “Now I feel that I can breathe for the first time in years.” She also said in a press statement Monday over the phone amongst a group of other accusers that this milestone is “not a referendum on #MeToo. This is taking out the trash. What I wanted to do was cause a massive cultural reset. We achieved that already with what happened.” McGowan emphasised the importance of this verdict in the “collective healing” of the Silence Breakers.
Journalist Lauren Sivan was also on the call. She said many of the Silence Breakers expected Weinstein to walk away with a not-guilty verdict. “Today was a huge victory,” she said. “It really shows that victim-shaming will not work as a defense anymore…It shows that rape is rape, sexual assault is sexual assault.” She said she hopes the legal system catches up with the cultural movement that Weinstein’s conviction has started.
Caitlin Dulany told THR of a group text between the Silence Breakers where they had been messaging about potential outcomes of the trial all week. She said their primary concern was that if the verdict was not guilty, the work they had done for survivors around the world would become a moot point. On hearing he was convicted of being a serial rapist, Dulany was “shocked and thrilled.”
Others who shared their response to the convictions called the outcome “momentous,” “happy” and their “legacy”— which is in stark contrast to Harvey Weinstein’s legacy, as accuser Louise Godbold noted.
In acknowledging the victory, the Silence Breakers also expressed their disappointment that Weinstein was acquitted of three of the five charges.
But for now, let’s choose to rejoice— if not for justice’s sake but for the brave women who took a stand against Harvey Weinstein to send a message to abusers around the world that time’s up.