‘Just the beginning’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 26, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:39 AM, February 26, 2020

‘Just the beginning’

Activists vow to continue movement after Weinstein guilty verdict

The guilty verdict in the sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein energized Hollywood celebrities and activists who said it was just the start of their movement to hold abusers accountable.

After Weinstein was taken to jail in handcuffs, advocates promised a renewed push for changes in the law that would allow more victims of sex crimes to have their day in court.

Members of the Silence Breakers, a group of Weinstein accusers, said they would redouble efforts to persuade lawmakers to revise statutes of limitations in several states that limit prosecutors from bringing sexual assault and rape cases after a certain period of time.

"The era of impunity for powerful men who rape people is over," actress Mira Sorvino, one of the more than 80 women who accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, said on a conference call with more than a dozen of the Silence Breakers.

Weinstein has said any sexual encounters he had were consensual.

Time's Up, the organization founded in 2018 by Hollywood celebrities after the Weinstein allegations became public, said the trial marked a "new era of justice" and urged people on social media to join the cause.

"Legally Blonde" star Reese Witherspoon, a founding member of Time's Up, tweeted: "This is just the beginning."

Actress Rosanna Arquette said Monday's verdict brought hope to victims that their voices would be heard.

Advocates still face several challenges. One hurdle has been the reluctance of women to go public with accusations, and the Weinstein trial showed that they will continue to face tough grilling in a court of law. Some advocates noted that it would take sustained efforts to ensure that women in workplaces outside the movie business received support.

A statement released by the Me Too organization, led by activist Tarana Burke, noted that it had taken "years, and millions of voices raised, for (Weinstein) to be held accountable by the justice system." The implications "reverberate far beyond Hollywood," the group said.

"Though today a man has been found guilty, we have to wonder whether anyone will care about the rest of us tomorrow. This is why we say MeToo," the statement added.

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