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Harvey Weinstein Charged With Third-Degree Rape

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

On Monday, former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of committing a “criminal sexual act” and third-degree rape but was acquitted of two counts of predatory sexual assault. He will face up to 25 years in prison.

Following the six-week trial, during which six women testified that Weinstein’s abused his power to coerce them into non-consensual sexual acts, jurors voted to convict him. The charges against Weinstein were primarily founded on the allegations of a former production assistant, Miriam Haley, and actresses Annabella Sciorra and Jessica Mann.

In her opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast referred to Weinstein’s pattern of exploiting women in positions lower than him.

Here the rapist was at the pinnacle, at the very profession his victims strived to make a career in. Thus, the power and balance he deviously exploited was not just physical, it was also professional and profoundly psychological.

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), for every 1,000 rapes, only six perpetrators will go to jail. Because this number is so low (in conjunction with other factors), survivors seldom report sexual assault. Approximately two out of every three sexual assaults go unreported.

This was something Sciorra, who did not originally report that Weinstein raped her in the 90s, touched on in her statement.

“I thought … I thought he was a nice person, I thought he was an OK guy,” she said. “At the time I thought rape was something that happened in the dark, in a back alley, something a stranger did to you with a gun to your head.”

After the decision was released on Monday, Weinstein’s defense attorney Arthur Aidala made a motion for a mistrial, which was denied.

If this news is difficult for you, you’re not alone. It’s OK to stay away from the news for a while to protect your mental health. If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

Header image via Creative Commons/David Shankbone

Originally published: February 24, 2020
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