Time’s Up UK hail ‘new era of justice’ after Harvey Weinstein convicted of third-degree rape

Harvey Weinstein’s conviction “marks a new era of justice” for victims of sexual misconduct, the chairwoman of Time’s Up UK has said.

Dame Heather Rabbatts, who leads the UK branch of the gender equality group, said that all people owe “a debt of gratitude” to the women who faced the Hollywood mogul in court.

Weinstein, 67, was found guilty of a criminal sex act for assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in 2006, and third-degree rape of a woman in 2013.

The jury found him not guilty on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault, which could have resulted in a life sentence.

The verdict in his New York trial followed weeks of often harrowing and excruciatingly graphic testimony from a string of accusers.

Dame Heather said in a statement to the PA news agency: “This trial, and the jury’s decision today, marks a new era of justice, not just for the Silence Breakers, who spoke out at great personal risk, but for all survivors of harassment, abuse and assault at work.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the survivors for their bravery and resolve as they faced Harvey Weinstein in court. We continue to believe them, all of them, and continue to be in solidarity with them.

“The jury’s verdict sends a powerful message to the world of just how much progress has been made since the Weinstein Silence Breakers ignited an unstoppable movement.

“In two short years, Time’s Up helped pass new laws to help survivors achieve justice, helped thousands of individuals take on harassers and abusers in court, and changed the game when it comes to how matters of safety and equity in the workplace are understood.”

Dame Heather said the trial was a “salient reminder of the extent to which survivors are forced to relive their trauma if they are brave enough to take their attackers to court”.

However, she urged people to be mindful of the fact that many UK rape cases do not reach trial.

Following the news of his conviction, actress Rosanna Arquette, one of Weinstein’s high-profile accusers, tweeted: “Gratitude to the brave women who’ve testified and to the jury for seeing through the dirty tactics of the defence.”

She added: “We will change the laws in the future so that rape victims are heard and not discredited, and so that it’s easier for people to report their rapes.”

Actress Ashley Judd, one of Weinstein’s earliest accusers, tweeted: “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.”

Ronan Farrow, son of actress Mia Farrow and filmmaker Woody Allen, was one of the first journalists to report on allegations against Weinstein.

He tweeted: “Today’s outcome in Harvey Weinstein’s New York trial is the result of the decisions of multiple women to come forward to journalists and to prosecutors at great personal cost and risk. Please keep those women in your thoughts today.”

Actress Mira Sorvino, who also accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and of derailing her career, tweeted: “The beginning of #justice. More to come, my sisters.”

Actress Elizabeth Banks tweeted: “I am heartened for his victims and for all those who said #metoo and #TimesUp that some justice has been done.”

Labour MP Jess Phillips tweeted: “I’ve met a few of the women who have made claims against Weinstein, I’ve worked with remarkable women forced into years of silence through NDAs by him.

“They all said to me at one point or another, ‘I just don’t believe he’ll ever go to jail’. Years of no one listening does that.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2020, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) PA Wire.

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