A group of women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault or other misconduct praised the plaintiffs, witnesses and jury in the case while expressing hope that it will be a step forward in bringing powerful figures to justice.
Weinstein was convicted on charges of rape in the third degree and criminal sexual acts in the first degree, but acquitted on charges of predatory sexual assault and first degree rape.
“Today because of the brave women who bared their deepest hurt for the world to see, he is in Riker’s Island,” actress Rose McGowan said in a phone press conference with 17 of Weinstein’s accusers, known as the Silence Breakers. “For once, he won’t be sitting comfortably. For once, he will know what it is like to have power wrapped around his neck.”
McGowan added, “Today is not a referendum on MeToo. This is taking out the trash. But what I wanted to do was cause a massive cultural reset. We achieved that today with what happened. With today, the trashman came and he said to all of the little girls and the little boys who get hurt in this world, ‘Some day, maybe you, too, can have a voice.'”
She noted that they were in a “privileged position,” because only 2% of rapes get convictions.
Mira Sorvino said, “Harvey Weinstein has harmed many of our lives, even in our nightmares, long after he initially did what he did to each one of us. We have finally taken that power back. And we have exposed his evil and others like him, the true ugliness. He will rot in jail as he deserves and we will begin to have some closure.”
She added, “The survivors who are out there and are scared…know that we are here for you and there is hope and love and light and community. Together we have and will continue to make changes in the law and the culture, and this is just a drop in the wave of justice to come for predators and survivors everywhere.”
In the trial, Weinstein’s defense team produced a series of emails and text messages that his accusers sent to him after the alleged incidents of sexual assault, in an effort to claim that the conduct was consensual.
Larissa Gomes, a writer and actor in Los Angeles, said that “I think what we have seen here as the trial unfolded is that the courtroom can be a vicious battlefield for any woman to bares to others claims of rape. It took courageous witnesses, six women to testify to make this happen. That is nothing short of heroic, what they have done for all of us, for all survivors.”
Dawn Dunning testified during the trial about a 2004 incident in which Weinstein put his hand up her skirt and touched her during a business meeting. She said that the experience was “really intense” but that she felt that she connected a bit with the jury.
“There was a couple of them shaking their head during cross examination when his lawyers were really going after me,” she said. “Their defense was a lot of victim blaming, and the bottom line is, you can be in a consensual relationship and still be raped. I think that that translated.”
Rosanna Arquette talked of strengthening laws and closing loopholes “so that more rape cases will be prosecutors and more rapists will be held accountable for their crimes.”
“But today, let’s focus on the progress that has been made with the first guilty verdict of the MeToo era,” she said.