The Weinstein Effect: Why His Conviction May Inspire More Women to Come Forward

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Weinstein convicted and sentenced to 23 years in prison

Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of two of the five charges against him in New York on Monday 24th February – rape in the third degree and criminal sexual act.
He was acquitted on the charges of first-degree rape and predatory sexual assault.

The NY case was based on the accusations of two women, Jessica Mann, an actress, and Mimi Haleyi, a former production assistant who worked for The Weinstein Company.  The evidence of former Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra was also heard in court to help prove the count of predatory sexual behaviour, though ultimately Weinstein was acquitted of those charges by a jury of five men and seven women.

On March 11th, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison  He is also expected to face further charges in Los Angeles and London.

What this means going forward

Weinstein’s conviction will hopefully mean that even more women will be encouraged to come forward and share their own experiences of sexual assault and harassment, and that they will be believed.

“This is a big day. This is a new day,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said. “This is the new landscape for survivors of sexual assault in America, I believe, and this is a new day. It is a new day because Harvey Weinstein has finally been held accountable for crimes he committed.”

The original reporting of these accusations in The New York Times and The New Yorker marked a ‘watershed moment’ in the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.  This resulted in over 80 women speaking out about their experiences of being sexually assaulted or harassed by the former producer.

As the most high profile trial to come out of the era ends in a conviction, there is more hope than ever that women will feel inspired to share their stories.