Harvey Weinstein is guilty. The New York Supreme Court convicted the defendant of criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree on Monday.
Women’s groups, celebrities and activists alike applaud the guilty verdict of the powerful, Academy Award-winning producer calling it a “powerful day” and a “historic victory.”
“While the fight to stop the pervasive effects of rape culture is far from over, today is a good day,” Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet, a leading national women’s group that first suggested Weinstein be investigated, said.
The #MeToo movement gained momentum after accusations against Weinstein broke encouraging women to speak out regarding sexual assault and mistreatment, while the Times Up organization was founded by Hollywood celebrities after allegations surfaced in response to sexual harassment and abuse across all industries.
“For the women who testified in this case, and walked through traumatic hell, you did a public service to girls and women everywhere, thank you,” Ashley Judd, actress and one of the first women to publicly accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct, said in a tweet.
As many welcomed the guilty verdict, other women believe that more needs to be done to help protect women and survivors of sexual abuse under the law.
“For too many Americans, often low-income women of color whose abuser does not have a public profile, that justice is out of reach,” Thomas said. “There remain hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits around the country, and when sexual abuse does go to trial—less than one percent result conviction, and even less result in actual penalties for the abuser. We need to do better for all survivors, and hopefully, this is the start of a justice system that is more attuned to the realities that survivors of abuse face.”
Some other reactions to the verdict include praise for the women who testified against Weinstein.
“Jessica Mann, Miriam Haley, Annabella Sciorra, Dawn Dunning, Taralae Wulff and Lauren Young showed tremendous courage in testifying against Weinstein and sharing their stories,” Thomas said. “We owe them a debt of gratitude.”
“My testimony was painful, but necessary,” Annabella Sciorra, actress and one of the prosecution witnesses in the trial, said. “I spoke for myself and with the strength of the eighty plus victims of Harvey Weinstein in my heart. While we hope for continued righteous outcomes that bring absolute justice, we can never regret breaking the silence. For in speaking truth to power we pave the way for a more just culture, free of the scourge of violence against women.”
Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of Women in Film Los Angeles, said the verdict was long overdue.
“Today’s verdict is a significant and long-overdue step towards justice for women who have, for years, silently shouldered workplace sexual harassment and assault without recourse,” Schaffer said. “WIF extends its most heartfelt gratitude and support to the Silence Breakers who have heroically endured so much throughout this trial. We trust that this conviction will set a precedent so that perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment—no matter how powerful—will now be unable to escape the criminal consequences of their predatory behavior.”