‘Rape is not just one moment... It is forever.’
The past few years have been a watershed moment for women, prompted by the New York Times’ investigation of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, seeing over 70 women coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment and abuse.
The multiple reports of not only harassing female employees, but also paying off his accusers for decades, are said to date back 30 years, with the revelations leading to Weinstein getting fired from his own company and a third of its all-male board resigning – not to mention, prompting the global #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
Today Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in jail after being found guilty of attacks on two women in the first trial of the #MeToo era.
Weinstein will serve time in a New York State prison after being sentenced by Supreme Court judge James Burke.
It was earlier this month that the New York City jury found Weinstein guilty of a criminal sex act in the first degree and rape in the third degree.
‘Today is a powerful day and a huge step forward in collective healing,’ actress Rose McGowan and one of Harvey Weinstein’s earliest accusers announced following the verdict last month. ‘Twenty years ago I decided to come after Weinstein because I'd heard about him doing this to someone else, and then I heard him doing it to someone else, and someone else.'
Rose continued: ‘Every one of us who has come forward, we have a name, we have a history, we have a life, we are more than Weinstein. But today, because of the brave women, who bared their deepest hurt for the world to see, he's in Rikers Island. For once he won't be sitting comfortably. For once he will know what it's like to have power wrapped around his neck.’
She concluded: ‘Today is not a referendum on #MeToo, this is taking out the trash.’
'This is what he has created for himself, prison, lack of remorse, lack of accountability,' Ashley Judd, the first actress to publicly accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct told the New York Times.
Dawn Dunning, former actress and a supporting witness during the trial, also opened up to the New York Times about the verdict.
'I did it for all of us. I did it for the women who couldn’t testify. I couldn’t not do it,' Dunning told the publication. 'My biggest fear was him being found not guilty. I’m very relieved. But he wasn’t found guilty on all of the counts, so I feel like it was a victory, but not a complete victory.
'This verdict made it real for people watching from afar that you will be held accountable for your actions. You can’t take advantage of people just because you have power and money.'
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.