Why Harvey Weinstein’s Trial Changed the Way We Listen to Women

Madeleine Mankey talks about the conviction of Harvey Weinstein and the achievements of the #MeToo movement in terms of the position of women in society,

By Madeleine Mankey

“Harvey Weinstein CBE (born March 19, 1952) is an American former film producer and convicted sex offender,” reads the first line of his Wikipedia page.

The Manhattan Supreme Court convicted Harvey Weinstein of rape and sexual assault. Here it is – the culmination of two years of the #MeToo movement alongside its allegations, apologies and investigations. There was a snowstorm of charges from brave women who decided to come forward, although there are undoubtedly many that chose not to.

Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein’s many victims, made the sacrificial choice not to have children in order to bring down a man far more powerful than herself. McGowan stated she never would have been able to “take down” the mogul if she had others depending on her – serving Weinstein justice became her raison d’être following her key role in the #MeToo movement after alleging the Hollywood mogul raped her in the 1990s.

Rose McGowan, an instrumental figure in the #MeToo movement.

However, we have a long way to go as a society before rape can be effectively eradicated. Despite this, we can take a strong measure of hope not only from this pivotal judicial verdict but also from the stunning progress the #MeToo movement has brought for survivors of abuse globally.

Over eighty women raised allegations against Weinstein by November 2017. Deniers cited the millionaire’s philanthropy as a pathetic attempt at creating a karmic balance for using his position of power to rape and abuse women.

The #MeToo trials have unleashed a wave of slut-shaming, victim-blaming and a myriad of differing forms of misogyny. The way we really think about women has been forced to society’s surface, and yes, it is ugly – but yes, it is changing.

Finally, the age-old argument of a rape trial’s defence, the woman supposedly “asking for it”, is beginning to rhetorically crumble. We have had to resort to primary school level language in order to etch the message into the public’s consciousness: no means no.

Weinstein was branded “untouchable”. Now, he has lost his name, his children and his freedom. But, most importantly, the idea that an evil person in a position of power is “untouchable” has been emblematically proven wrong.

Hopefully, this verdict demonstrates decisively that all the power and money in the world cannot silence the truth, despite huge Miramax funds and intimidation by his formidable legal defence team. The unknown hordes of Weinstein’s victims, despite all this money, power and influence, were still able to serve justice.

The truth has triumphed despite all odds, and the monster that is Harvey Weinstein will never harm another woman again.

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Madeleine Mankey talks about the conviction of Harvey Weinstein and the achievements of the #MeToo movement in terms of the position of women in society,