Harvey Weinstein is convicted of third-degree rape and a criminal sexual act. He’s staring at just 5 years
The battle of justice for women, who take on rich and powerful men for molestation, or worse rape, is long, lonely and hard. No matter in which part of the globe they are, whether it is India, Pakistan, the UK or even the biggest and one of the most technologically-advanced Western countries in the world, the US. What else justifies the fact that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was accused by no less than 90 women of sex crimes, was convicted only in two cases whereas he was found guilty of raping one woman and committing a non-consensual sex act on another? It was imperfect justice because he was acquitted of the most serious charges — two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of first-degree rape, which might have put him in a cell for the rest of his life. The jury only convicted him of third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sexual act. So now he is looking at just five years in prison. And this was the man, who throughout his long career as a film producer, had silenced multiple accusations of rape and sexual assault with threats, denials, character assassinations, monetary settlements and Non-Disclosure Agreements. He had even scared off journalists who tried to expose his dastardly acts and bring him to justice, till tenacious journalists from the New York Times and the New Yorker brought him down with their exposés in 2017.
However, the verdict is a small victory for women around the world battling hard against their sexual predators. The Unnao rape victim, who accused former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar of rape or the law student, who tried to bring former BJP MP Swami Chinmayanand to book for raping her repeatedly, would tell you at what personal peril they managed to be heard. Weinstein’s conviction is also a defeat of the most belligerent victim-shaming and blaming tactics that are used by ruthless defence lawyers in such cases. More importantly, it broke the stereotype of what a “perfect victim” is as justice was given to the two women who did not end their relationship with their tormentor simply because he was who he was. It is a small measure of vindication for the six women who testified that Weinstein attacked and sought to intimidate them as they were put through the grinder by his lawyers. They can now feel proud of the part they played in getting the predator put behind bars, where he belongs. It is also a victory for the #MeToo movement, which was fast classified as a fad than a cause.
(Courtesy: The Pioneer)