Warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault.
More than 100 women have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment in the two and a half years since a pair of bombshell stories in the New York Times and the New Yorker exposed a long-running pattern of abusive, predatory, and retaliatory behavior from the movie mogul. Less than a year later, Weinstein was arrested in Manhattan on charges of rape, committing a criminal sex act, sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct. This past January, the one-time producer finally stepped into a Manhattan courtroom.
What he’s facing there is one count of rape in the first degree, one count of rape in the third degree, one count of a criminal sexual act in the first degree, and two counts of predatory sexual assault. The charges involve a former production assistant, Miriam Haley, and a former actor, Jessica Mann. Haley is accusing Weinstein of forcibly performing oral sex on her at his apartment in 2006, while Mann alleges that he raped her at a hotel in 2013. Weinstein claims he is innocent of the charges, and that all sexual encounters were consensual. He could face life in prison if found guilty of predatory sexual assault, the most serious of the charges.
These aren’t the only charges lodged against Weinstein. In December, he and the board of his bankrupt film studio settled with more than 30 accusers for $25 million. The deal did not, however, require Weinstein to admit any wrongdoing. The settlement money, meanwhile, would come not from Weinstein, but from insurers. According to The New York Times, $6.2 million would go to the 18 accusers who filed cases in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The rest is reserved for class-action participants and accusers who have yet to come forward.
On January 6, the day his New York criminal trial began, he was charged in Los Angeles with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents in 2013. Weinstein also denies those charges, and a date for that trial has not been set.
Weinstein’s New York trial is expected to last through early March. Below, we’ve tracked the trial’s biggest takeaways via its most notable testimonies.
In October of 2017, Sopranos star Annabella Sciorra alleged that Weinstein raped her in 1993, then sought to harass and intimidate her in the aftermath. On January 23, she recounted these allegations under oath, testifying (per the New York Times) that Weinstein raped her in her Gramercy Park apartment following a business dinner. “He shoved me onto the bed,” Sciorra said. “As I was trying to get him off of me, I was punching him, I was kicking him... He got on top of me and he raped me.”
Later, she testified that the incident led her to excessive drinking and self-harm, and said that Weinstein continued to harass her in the following years. “I tried to talk to him about what happened,” she said. “And I told him how I woke up, and that I had blacked out, fainted, and he said, ‘That’s what all the nice Catholic girls say.’ Then he leaned into me and said, ‘This remains between you and I.’” She continued, “It was very menacing. His eyes went black, and I thought he was going to hit me right there.”
Rosie Perez, an actor and longtime friend of Sciorra, also testified, saying that Sciorra discussed the alleged rape with her.
Haley, a former production assistant who worked on Project Runway, testified on January 27 that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at his SoHo home in 2006. “At some point, fairly soon into meeting him there, he kind of came towards me and lunged at me,” she said (per Vulture). “And also I tried to reject him. I mean, I did reject him, but he insisted,” she continued. “And every time I tried to get up off the bed, he would push me back and hold me down. Then he pushed me down, he held me down, he held me by my arms... And then I said, ‘No, no,’ and at that point I started realizing what was actually happening: I’m being raped,” she said.
Haley also testified that, in a separate incident, Weinstein initiated sex with her while calling her a “whore” and a “bitch.” Though she didn’t want to have sex with him, she testified, she “didn’t physically resist.” Weinstein is not being charged for anything regarding that incident.
Weinstein’s defense attorneys raised questions over Haley’s continued correspondence with the mogul, including trips to Los Angeles and London for which he paid. Saying she “buried” her memories of the assault, she responded, “I felt trapped and not really able to do anything about it... I decided to just almost pretend it didn’t happen and just put it aside and carry on as usual.”
Elizabeth Entin, a former roommate of Haley, backed up Haley’s account in testimony of her own.
Dawn Dunning, who first revealed her allegations of assault against the producer in 2017, testified on January 29 that she considered Weinstein a friend when they first met in 2004. After he invited her up to a SoHo hotel room to discuss her burgeoning acting career, however, that changed. “His hand went under my underwear, he was trying to put it in my vagina,” she said (via The Daily Beast). “I stood up, I was in shock. I was not expecting that to happen.”
Weeks later, after promising Dunning roles in three different movies, he offered to meet her in a public cigar bar. Instead, his assistant met Dunning in the lobby and directed her to Weinstein’s room, where the producer proposed a threesome with him and the assistant. Per Dunning, Weinstein told her that’s “how this industry works.” She continued, “He kind of cut to the chase and said, ‘Here is the contract for my next three films. I’ll sign them today if you have a threesome with me and my assistant... He got really angry and started yelling, ‘You’ll never make it in this business!’”
Lincoln Davies, a former boyfriend of Dunning, also testified, saying that Dunning was “pretty shocked, upset, angry and overall appalled” after meeting with Weinstein. “She ended up crying.”
Weinstein’s defense lawyers countered Dunning’s claims by noting the amount of media appearances she made after coming forward in 2017 and claiming she’s after “attention.” Dunning countered by saying she’s not “benefiting” from any of that attention. “If anything, I’m losing. I’m spending money, I’m spending time. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” she said.
Weinstein has not been charged with anything in relation to Dunning. As with Sciorra’s testimony, their experiences are being used to help show a pattern of abusive behavior.
In a similar situation is Tarale Wulff, a model who testified that Weinstein raped her and masturbated in front of her in 2005. They met when Wulff was working as a cocktail waitress at the SoHo restaurant Cipriani, and she testified that one night he pulled her to an unused roof terrace, where he began masturbating beneath his shirt. Wulff said that her manager “shut the door” behind them.
She avoided Weinstein the rest of the evening, but his assistant soon reached out to her with an opportunity to be cast in an upcoming movie. Soon after she arrived at an empty conference room, she was informed that Weinstein wanted to see her at his hotel. There, she said, he raped her.
“He took me by my arms and turned me around and put me on the bed and laid me back,” she said. When she protested, he told her he’d had a vasectomy. “He put himself inside me and raped me,” she said.
Mann, one of the woman filing criminal charges against Weinstein, testified on January 31 and February 1 that Weinstein raped her and performed forced oral sex on her in 2013. Her testimony also detailed how Weinstein would humiliate her, including by urinating on her. She did, however, admit that the pair were, for a time, in a relationship.
“I made the decision to be in a relationship with him,” she said. “And part of that was because I was sexual with very few people. I entered into what I thought was going to be a real relationship with him—and it was extremely degrading from that point on.”
Mann, who recounted a repressive upbringing in what she describes as a “cult,” claimed that Weinstein forced oral sex on her in a hotel room after they met at a party. During a subsequent meeting, during which he lured her into another hotel room, he blocked her exit, demanded she undress, and raped her. Mann testified that she was reluctant to separate herself from him out of fear for her father’s safety. “I had a fight with my dad once and he saw that I was upset… He said he’ll send two men there with bats,” she said, per USA Today.
“He would talk very dirty to me about fantasies and things, and compare me to other actresses that he said were doing kinky, dirty things with him,” she said of their relationship, claiming that he also wanted to film her but that she had not given him permission.
When she told Weinstein she was seeing someone, she says he reacted angrily and violently assaulted her again, drawing blood and orgasming in her mouth without her consent. Per her testimony, he told her, “Okay, now—now you can go have your relationship, and what you can do is you can bring me other girls.”
Per Vulture, Weinstein’s defense lawyers are attempting to portray Mann as “craven and flaky—casting her as an unsuccessful actress who had a consensual relationship with Weinstein to boost her lackluster career.” Mann also apparently had a consensual encounter with him in 2016, three years after the alleged assaults. Prosecutors countered the defense team by presenting multiple email exchanges that show her ignoring or declining to respond to his messages, presumably out of fear.
Mann was visibly upset during her testimony, which was postponed on February 3 after she had what’s been described as a panic attack. Weinstein reportedly fell asleep.
On February 10, the defense called a former roommate of Mann, Talita Maia, who lived with Mann during the time Weinstein was allegedly abusing her. Maia testified that Mann never told her that she had been assaulted, per Variety, and that Mann had called Weinstein her “spiritual soulmate.” Mann previously testified that she did not tell her friends about the abuse because it was her “deepest secret.”
Maia also testified that she was in Weinstein’s hotel room during one of the incidents of alleged sexual assault against Mann. Maia claims that Weinstein and Mann were only in the bedroom for “10 minutes” and that Mann appeared “normal” after leaving the bedroom. “She seemed normal, like nothing out of the ordinary,” she testified.
Lauren Young, an aspiring actor and screenwriter, testified on February 5 that Weinstein sexually assaulted in a Beverly Hills hotel room in February of 2013, per USA Today. After meeting him at an Oscars party in 2012, Young visited Weinstein’s room to discuss a script she was writing. Per her testimony, a friend of Weinstein’s, Claudia Salinas, managed to trap Young inside the bathroom with the producer, shutting the door.
Weinstein went on to strip and masturbate in front of her before pulling down her dress and groping her breast. “I just couldn’t believe what was happening to me, and I was really worried and scared that he was going to hurt me or something,” she said (via The Hollywood Reporter). “He starts coming closer to me, so I turned because I didn’t want to look at his naked body...I said, ‘No, No, No,’ the whole time.”
While he was masturbating, Young testified, Weinstein asked, “How am I going to know if you can act?”
Like Dunning and Wulff, Young’s testimony is meant to help establish a pattern in Weinstein’s predatory behavior.
On February 10, the defense called Salinas to the stand. According to The Guardian, Salinas flatly denied ever closing the bathroom door on Young. “If I had done that I would have remembered that—I have never done that at any time,” Salinas said. Salinas also denied allegations that she stayed in touch with Young in the aftermath in order to ensure Young stayed quiet.
A former producer and longtime friend of Weinstein, Paul Feldsher testified under subpoena on February 6, per Deadline. The defense hoped Feldsher, as an ex-friend of Sciorra, would serve to discredit her testimony. He claimed, for example, that Sciorra’s dependence on alcohol and prescription sedatives began before her encounter with Weinstein. He also said that she never described her encounter with Weinstein as rape to him, but rather a “crazy thing.”
The prosecution, meanwhile, scoured a slew of texts between Feldsher and Weinstein in which the former made a number of scathing comments about Sciorra and “the dogpile of actresses who are suddenly ‘brave’ recalling suppressed memories...” They also pointed out a text in which Feldsher promised loyalty to Weinstein. “Unless and until you make some kind of confession or are proven legally guilty,” he wrote, “I will continue to be the controversial-cum-inappropriate person who defends you.”
Feldsher was also grilled for making comments about Weinstein being a “sex addict,” though he later tried to walk that back by saying Weinstein simply had a “voracious” appetite for women.
On February 13, Weinstein’s lead attorney, Donna Rotunno delivered a closing argument that, in some ways, echoed her controversial comments about women needing to “take precautions” so as not to get sexually assaulted.
“The assistant district attorneys are the producers in this case, and they are writing the script,” she told the 12-person jury. “In their universe, women are not responsible for the parties they attend, for the men they flirt with, for the jobs they ask for help with.… In this script, the powerful man is the villain and he’s so unattractive and large that no woman would want to sleep with him voluntarily.”
Rotunno also declared that the prosecutors “failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt,” encouraging them to focus on the testimonies of Haley and Mann, as they are the only ones part of the indictment against Weinstein. “In the end, it comes down to those two,” she said. “If you don’t believe Miriam Haley or Jessica Mann, you don’t have to evaluate anything else. You don’t get to Annabella Sciorra if you don’t believe Miriam Haley.”
Rotunno also told the jury to set aside their “gut feelings” about Weinstein and to use their “New York City common sense.” She continued, “Every time you feel like emotion is taking over, remember that common sense when evaluating this evidence because it will guide you to the right answer.”
“You don’t have to like Mr. Weinstein,” Rotunno said. “This is not a popularity contest. The unpopular person needs you most.”
On February 14, Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi delivered the closing argument for the prosecution, saying the case is about “power, manipulation, and abuse.” Using a PowerPoint presentation, Illuzzi then unpacked the myriad of ways she claims Weinstein used his clout to prey on women with promises of stardom across three decades.
“The universe is run by [Weinstein] so, therefore, they don’t get to complain when they’re stepped on, spit on, demoralized, and then, yes, raped and abused,” she said, per The Daily Beast. “He made sure he can contact the people he was worried about as a little check to make sure one day they wouldn’t walk out of the shadows and call him what he was: an abusive rapist.”
Illuzzi also pointed out how Weinstein’s M.O. remained the same in the accounts of each of the women. “Women who have never met each other and yet share facts that are so detailed,” Illuzzi said. “This is the way you are experiencing what these women experienced right along with them. This experience, which is so palpable, was shared by these women decades, decades apart.”
Responding to Rotunno’s remarks about a woman’s responsibility in instances of sexual assault, Illuzzi said there are “no blurred lines here” and that a woman should be able to go “unescorted to a man’s apartment and not suffer sexual assault.”
After five days of deliberations, the seven men and five women comprising the jury in Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial in New York have found the 67-year old movie mogul guilty of a criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. He was acquitted, however, of two counts of predatory sexual assault, the most severe of the charges he was facing. Had he been found guilty of predatory sexual assault, he could have faced life in prison. He’s now facing five to 25 years for the criminal sexual assault conviction and 18 months to four years for the third-degree rape conviction. He was remanded into custody and will be sentenced at a later date.
On Wednesday, March 11, Judge James Burke sentenced Weinstein to 23 years in prison, with 20 years for the criminal sexual act charge and three for the rape charge. He’ll serve the sentences consecutively and will be formally registered as a sex offender.
Weinstein spoke to the packed courthouse before the sentencing, saying that though he had “deep remorse,” he finds himself “totally confused” by the #MeToo movement. “I think men are confused about all of this…this feeling of thousands of men and women who are losing due process, I’m worried about this country,” he said. “This is not the right atmosphere in the United States of America.”
Weinstein’s attorney, Donna Rotunno, decried the sentence outside the courthouse. “Of course it’s too harsh. It’s ridiculous,” she said. “That number was obnoxious. There are murderers who will get out of court faster than Harvey Weinstein will. That number spoke to the pressure of movements in the public, that number did not speak to the evidence that came out in trial. That number did not speak to the testimony that we heard. That number did not speak to evidence, nor did it speak to justice.”
Haley also shared a statement she read during the sentencing hearing. Read it in full below:
I’m here to talk about how it’s affected me, to have been sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. To have been raped by Harvey Weinstein. I say raped because that is how I experienced it at the time. That is what I experienced was happening when he with physical force violated my trust, my body and my basic right to reject his sexual advances.
In the spring of 2006, I was at a very low and vulnerable point in my life. I was feeling drained and insecure, having recently almost lost my great friend, mentor and employer, to severe illness. He was like family to me and to almost lose him was devastating. His business collapsed, and as a result, I lost my job and my income. And with that I ended up losing my apartment. I also lost the foundation, support and encouragement that I had had to pursue projects and ideas under that company.
Everything had come crashing down that year and I knew I had to start from scratch, make new professional connections and create new opportunities.
So when Harvey Weinstein agreed to meet with me that one afternoon at the Cannes Film Festival, to talk about potential job opportunities, I felt elated and hopeful.
I presumed he wanted to help me because he respected the person who’d introduced us, who I’d been working for. I presumed he wanted to help me because he empathised with my situation.
Instead I was met with suggestions that we give each other massages. I was met with comments about my appearance and an attitude that made me feel he didn’t for a second think I was of any professional value at all. I left that meeting in tears, feeling humiliated and deflated.
Nevertheless, Harvey Weinstein arranged for a small work opportunity – not a real, official job like I had originally hoped, nothing major, but it was something. And at that particular point in my life, something was better than nothing, so I was grateful.
Some time later I expressed that gratitude to him by email and what followed was a brief period where Harvey Weinstein treated me with surprising respect and normality. Until July 10th 2006, when he asked me to stop by his Soho apartment.
I had no reason not to go there. Harvey Weinstein wasn’t a stranger. He knew people I knew. I had no reason to think that even if he made sexual advances towards me and I rejected him, that he wouldn’t respect my rejection. I had no reason to believe that he would force an act of sexual violence on me. But that’s exactly what he did.
I believe that when he attacked me that evening, with physical force, with no regard for anything I said, no regard for my cries and protests, my physical resistance, my panic and fear – it scarred me deeply – mentally and emotionally – perhaps irreparably, perhaps forever.
What he did not only stripped me off my dignity as a human being and as a woman, but crushed my confidence and faith in my professional future for a long time. It diminished my confidence and faith in people, and my confidence and faith in myself. I was confused, in distress and in disbelief. It was embarrassing and frankly incredibly hurtful, that this person, who I knew to some degree, but who had also for a long time known someone I loved and trusted, would do this to me.
Since I felt trapped in not being able to go to officials or out him publicly because of reasons I’ve shared in my testimony, I eventually buried it, minimised it – put on a brave face and carried on as usual. Because that was my coping mechanism… and to be honest, I didn’t want to feel like a victim nor be perceived as one. I preferred people thought this powerful guy that the industry fawned over, respected and liked me.
However, in reality, these incidents with Harvey Weinstein altered the course of my life significantly. I no longer felt the same positive confidence in my professional worth or the same optimism about a future in the film and TV industry. I tried for a while, as the court was shown, to pursue some ideas, but he had crushed a part of my spirit and made me feel, well, awkward and insecure.
At the time this all happened, I thought I was alone in this. I had no idea there were others. I didn’t realise the extent of Harvey Weinstein’s manipulative and calculated predatory behaviour. I have since heard descriptions of encounters with Harvey Weinstein that are so strikingly similar to mine, they blow my mind. The pattern is obvious.
I’m in no doubt, that if Harvey Weinstein hadn’t been convicted for sexual assault and rape by this jury, it would’ve happened again, and again, again. So I’m relieved to know he’s not out there, feeling even more empowered, entitled and assured that he can do whatever he wants, to whoever he wants to do it to. I’m relieved he will now know he’s not above the law. I’m relieved, that there are women out there who are safer because he is not out there.
Agreeing to become a witness in this criminal prosecution of Harvey Weinstein, simply because it was the right thing to do and my civic duty, has had further impact on me. It’s affected so many aspects of my life.
On the one hand, it forced me to process what happened on a level I hadn’t previously. It forced me to resolve and settle within myself feelings of self blame and shame that I was still holding on to. I couldn’t have walked into this courtroom for my testimony and cross examination still carrying all of that. I let it all go, and I showed up, not as a perfect victim, but as a human being.
So in that way it’s been healing.
But mostly, the past couple of years have been excruciatingly stressful. I’ve lived in fear and paranoia on a daily basis – in fear of retaliation, paranoid my every move was being tracked and monitored, having learnt of the methods Harvey Weinstein has used to intimidate and silence people. Having had a friend tell me his private investigator showed up at their door, asking questions about me. I’ve had panic attacks and nightmares. I’ve feared for my life.
And because of the public nature of all of this, I put myself in such a vulnerable position to be criticised, scrutinised, judged and targeted by (often misinformed) strangers.
I’ve worried I might lose work because potential employers might be put off by the discovery of this cringey information, since it’s readily available on the internet.
I’ve avoided dating for that same reason. I didn’t want to drag anyone into to it, embarrass them, or be hurt if they distanced themselves from me once they found out.
The list honestly could go on, the ways in which my life has suffered, been disrupted, infiltrated and inconvenienced, all as a result of Harvey Weinstein’s actions.
I’ve never felt vengeful, and going into this, initially, I didn’t even feel anger. I just felt sad. Sad for myself, sad for everyone he hurt and I even felt sad for him, for having done this to himself. But I have observed an indifference, a lack of remorse, a lack of acknowledgement, a lack of awareness and self awareness, by the defendant, throughout this process, that has made me feel anger. That has left me concerned he is completely disconnected from the gravity of the crime that he committed against me and the impact it’s had. I can only hope, that whatever sentence the court sees fit, is long enough for Harvey Weinstein to acknowledge what he’s done and to be truly sorry.
Mann also released her statement to the judge, which you can read in full below.
The day my uncontrollable screams were heard from the witness room was the day my full voice came back into my power.
Those were the screams that wanted to come out while Harvey was raping me. Those were the screams of a terrified young woman reliving experiences of horrific violence against her body. Those were the screams that will forever haunt those who witnessed me.
That, your Honor, is what the behavior of a rape victim looks like when facing their powerfully rich and famous rapist in court, as his lawyers twist the truth and even lie. I swore to come here and tell the whole truth, only to be limited by yes and no questions, and premises framed by the defense that were grossly misrepresented. There is still so much left unsaid about his abuse and manipulation – as well as my own coping mechanisms which are what I would call “victim behavior.”
I wasn’t asked to testify about the aftermath of wreckage Harvey caused in my life. I was only questioned for having continued to mitigate the damage that was already done.
I ask you to consider a few things that are backed by real science and the studies of trauma, referenced in the Harvard Journal of Psychiatry, that are very deeply rooted in my case – when making the decision about the severity of the rape for which Harvey Weinstein is proven guilty of.
Tonic or Collapsed Immobility is one of six defense mechanisms the body elicits under trauma and stress. Stress like rape. So many women, myself included have only been able to find words such as, “I gave up” or “I lost control” and like myself “I froze.” The majority of the public has not understood that these responses were not something we consciously choose under the duress. In fact, voices like myself repeatedly stress the confusion this response caused, for not having a bodily response that fought back. By believing we should have resisted more, we are prone to greater PTSD symptoms and depression – as well as guilt and shame. Because the truth about psychological defense mechanisms is something lawyers like the defense don’t want entered into evidence so they can continue to capitalize on the broken. And predators like Harvey don’t want the public to be educated on so that they can exploit a victim’s shame to escape condemnation.
This rape induced paralysis is a natural response designed to activate under situations such as sexual abuse, or rape. When the brain assess that flight or fight are not possible, sometimes after using another mechanism called freezing (the state in which those responses are put on hold to assess the situation) the immobility response is activated. Harvey at the time had every advantage over me. Given the immense physical stature of Harvey’s weight, height, and ox like strength – he used that physicality to trap me and prevent me from leaving. That was a powerful assessment that flight was not possible.
Fight was also not possible. His strength overpowered me trying to leave. His strength hurt my hands when he forced them on myself to start undressing. He had already physically hurt me in the past when I was unable to escape his grip at prior occasions.
Rape paralysis, or immobility is very real in humans. A good visual of this is when animals ‘play dead’ under stress. While they remain flexible, and aware, they are trapped in a survival response until the threat is removed. In people, this response can also be accompanied with fainting or blacking out. Such as what happened to me in a separate rape committed against me by Harvey Weinstein, which you heard in my testimony, as well as Annabella’s testimony. Just like our heart’s without our conscious awareness, it is critical that victims, and the courts understand that the ability to fight during rape can be out of the victims control when this defense response is triggered unconsciously.
I ask you to consider the horrors of being rendered immobile by my own biological response, while I had to endure his penis, raping me on his time, as slow as he wanted while he pleasured himself inside my body. I wish I had been able to fight him while he raped me. I could have walked away with a sense of control over my body instead of a deeper shame. Please understand, that to show distress, especially while still in shock, would have been dangerous. I was not about to advertise that I was a weak and wounded prey and attract more potential violence. This is a response we see in nature, and should be of no surprise that hiding weakness is something every human being on this planet exercises.
Perhaps now it is easier to under stand why showing distress after rape is a fantasy in relationships with power dynamics. How after my own body was completely dominated by him, my spirit and my emotions were the last thing I had left to control in my experience of existence as a human being under his influence.
I want to remind you I told Harvey No. Forgive me for assuming that in private, after being threatened to not embarrass him, I thought I would be able to force my No and assert my right to autonomy. However Harvey did not see me as someone with equal rights. Harvey knew trough my verbal statements I did not want to undress, be in that room, much less do anything sexual of any sort of nature with him which is why he used intimidation, commands and force in a way so manipulative it would be hard to convict.
Harvey didn’t need to use a physical weapon to make me live in fear of the invisible gun to my head ready to be pulled if he felt in the mood. Invisible weapons known as abuse of power, are still a life threatening aspect a victim has to endure. Harvey abused his power over the powerless, exploiting this system.
My life was especially impacted by this kind of invisible weapon, when in 2015, I had effectively distanced myself from him for quite awhile. Freedom from Harvey became a truly hopeless endeavor as I watched Ambra Battaliana be smeared, shamed and attacked before the world. Ambra’s case solidified to me what I had always known was a possibility of how he could destroy my reputation before the whole world – and how that world would not care.
I also assessed Harvey’s position of power, authority, wealth and fame in society. I had repeatedly witnessed him threatening individuals and getting what he wanted. This included high profile people with threats of blacklisting because “he had done it before” and a hotel staff’s livelihood if they didn’t open the kitchen for him after closing – and most disturbing to me – threaten my father with a old school mafia bat beat down – my father who was dying of cancer at that time. If you have any sympathy for the man you see before you – consider that Mr. Weinstein took joy in beating to a pulp a dying man, a man poorer than him, a man who was an extension of me. Whether that fantasy of his was executed or not – he offered it with a story to back up when he had done it once before.
Escape from the dynamic with him would come at a great personal injury. Given he was a man who increasingly escalated his violence, degradation and severity in raping me – the unknown effects of giving him the ultimate rejection through escape was terrifying. If A-listers and hotel managers bowed to this man’s commands without question – how does one find courage under such a force without more consequence? I ask you this, what is left after rape when that person already increasingly violently rapes you multiple times?
It is documented publicly that Harvey had several NDA’s hiding his past sexual assaults; whose only spanking was to take a slap on the wrist and pay a fine each and every time. My rape was preventable. This was a known offender whose crimes were covered up and documented in a paper trail. You see, the commodity Weinstein’s companies produced was a very valuable commodity to the world. Society pays to be entertained, and the value to escape life to be lost in the magnitude of incredible films this man produced, was too valuable a commodity to be stopped by the women he trapped, raped and assaulted.
Many individuals may not understand why I had hoped that attempting human connection with the man who was sexually abusing me, humiliating me, using me, and pumping me into his world where he always controlled the script – was a long exhausting form of survival called Trauma Bonding.
The impact of being raped is profound. The body I live in became unsafe. It is impossible to translate the magnitude of such an experience to those who have never been violated internally. I am forced to carry that experience until I die. It impacts daily activities, social interactions, intimacy both sexual and emotional, and is a recurrent nightmare that feels just as real as when it happened.
There are good days, and there are bad days, and I hide it as best I can.
The defense attempted to create their own diagnosis of my mental health, which they are in no way qualified to do. They took medical records I disclosed when I had a breakdown after the headlines broke about the serial predatory behavior of Harvey Weinstein. What defense didn’t want the jury to know is how, as a recipient of Harvey Weinstein’s violence, being emitted to the emergency room is powerful evidence of “victim behavior” as I realized Mr. Weinstein’s crimes against humanity were not just crimes against me.
The effects of my health are invisible but it doesn’t mean they are any less real. I could list for you all the effects on my health but that would take far too long and I am not here to give any more power over to the man who stole my body already.
12 people found Harvey unanimously guilty of raping me. 12. That is no easy task. It is completely preposterous to say that 12 people were pressured by society to come to this conclusion. Anyone who believes that to be the case, has never had to live with making a decision to completely altered another human beings life, in a way that may feel a type of death sentence. 12 people took away Harvey’s freedom, in the end years of his life, as a crumbling senior citizen who literally was decomposing before their very eyes. No matter what someone had done that is horrific, Harvey is still a human being and the jury no doubt, felt that.
Harvey still denies his wrong doing towards me, Mimi, Annabella, the other women who testified and the plethora of other voices unable to be heard in the court of law. A man who had so many previous NDA’s hiding his past sexual assaults, he baffled at finally being held accountable. A man who assumed with his money and presidential alliances, made him untouchable.
The man I know Harvey to be is a man hellbent of control, and obsessed with his legacy. Imagine he is still coming to terms with losing control of the legacy he scripted. However I hope that with the accountability of a maximum sentence, he finds the ability to leave behind a legacy to help create a better world for his family.
Behind bars Harvey can be given the chance to rehabilitate while being held accountable to his crimes, and perhaps even – help write the playbook of how predators operate so these dynamics are forever exposed.
Your Honor, I hope I have justly explained the horrors of immobility while being raped, which allows a predator to have an easier time raping. I hope I have justly explained the horrors of being raped by someone who has power. And hopefully you understand, it takes a very special kind of evil to distort human connection and use it to leverage rape. If someone who knows you is willing to rape you, the impact on the psyche is profound.
I ask, that you can contemplate that rape is not just one moment of penetration, it is forever. Whether that rape exposes a victim to a lifelong disease, a pregnancy, injury, mental disorders – the impact will last a lifetime. It baffles me that men can go to jail for a minimum of 5 years up to 20 for drug charges, yet in my case of rape, the maximum sentence is 4 years. How have we so disvalued a human being’s right to autonomy and the right to live in their own body free from violence? How am I not worth more than cocaine? The answer is, I am worth more. 3rd degree and 1st degree rape, having experienced both at the hands of Harvey Weinstein have forever equally altered my life.
I hope that today in sentencing I do not have to take any further detriment to my quality of life for Harvey’s behavior. I ask to be given the gift of knowing exactly where Harvey is at all times so that I can truly live, and I ask that the public be given that gift as well. Do not devalue my life so much as to ask me to share the time he deserves to serve for my body and my life, at the same time as his other victim Mimi. Her and I are two separate individuals that he exploited at separate times. This is a crime against individual human beings. Do not continue the course of history where women’s lives matter less by grouping us into some cattle call, the same way Harvey herded his victims – as disposable.
I promise, if you value my life, I will spend every day getting better. I will take back my life and take a hold of my future with more energy than you can imagine. I will reclaim my time, I will regenerate my health, I will absolutely make you proud of me to see me go from the girl on the stand who talked about her shame and feeling like a lost cause – to becoming a woman who has found happiness, who can live in joy, who is free, who will go on to live a life so incredible no human will ever fear they are beyond redemption, or harnessed to the shame of their past. I want to set an example of our true potential as humans when it comes to our capabilities and innate worthiness. No matter the gender of someone who is sexually assaulted or raped – it is time people who rape other humans, pay with their life for the life they took.
Today I have no shame. I stand with gratitude and wholeness in my being. I stand here ready and willing and wanting to help others have the same wholeness and freedom that I now experience. I have found my voice and together we can have a future vision where monsters no longer hide in our closets. Your Honor, you have the ability to make that new world possible by sending a resounding message of new precedents and accountability by valuing our individual lives. I ask that you choose the new future over leniency and partake in the world me and this incredible team are here to build.
Thank you, Your Honor.