What does Weinstein's conviction mean for the #MeToo movement?

Em Richardson discusses the effects of disgraced former film producer's convictions for both rape and sexual assault.

Em Richardson
3rd April 2020
Recently, disgraced former film producer Harvey Weinstein was finally convicted of both rape and sexual assault, over two years after he was initially accused of sexual misconduct.

The accusations against Weinstein, made by over 80 women, led to the creation of the #MeToo movement, which encourages women to share their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment online.

On the one hand, seeing Weinstein receive a formal conviction for his behaviour is a huge victory for the movement. It makes a public statement that the behaviour of men like Weinstein is criminal. Sexual harassment can no longer be dismissed as workplace ‘banter’, and the narrative that women who accuse men of rape are ‘attention seekers’ who were ‘asking for it’ in some way has been rendered irrelevant.

Hopefully, Weinstein’s downfall will lead to a future where people are less likely to turn a blind-eye to sexual abuse, given the famous faces who allegedly spent years ignoring the rumours about Weinstein’s behaviour now look very foolish. This is a stark reminder that such behaviour is in fact a crime, which should always be reported to the appropriate authorities, regardless of the perpetrator’s celebrity-status.

However, it’s a shame that Weinstein was only found guilty of one count of rape, and one of sexual assault, despite the numerous allegations. Whilst this is still, luckily, serious enough for him to spend the next several years rotting in jail, it’s still a big blow for the victims who didn’t see their account proven.

Let’s hope that, even if it wasn’t their personal story that led to his conviction, all of the brave women who came forward with their stories about Weinstein can gain some degree of peace from his incarceration.

As for the #MeToo movement, let’s remember that it’s still as relevant as ever- sure, Weinstein might have been jailed, but let’s remember that thousands of other, non-celebrity predators still perpetrate this behaviour every day, and deserve to be called out just as much as Weinstein.

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