• 59°

Changes are still needed

What does the hard-won, long-overdue conviction of Harvey Weinstein demonstrate?

It shows how difficult it can be to bring abusers to justice, particularly when they are wealthy and powerful. It shows how much the #MeToo movement has changed American life. And it shows how far society still has to go.

Mr. Weinstein was convicted on Monday of a felony sex crime and rape in the third degree but was acquitted of the most serious counts against him, predatory sexual assault. He is headed for at least five years in prison. That’s a victory for Mr. Weinstein’s victims.

(…) Women have internalized that message of mistrust. Despite the far-reaching message of #MeToo, a vast majority of sexual assault victims — estimated to be more than three-quarters of them — never report their attackers to the authorities. Many have been conditioned to feel ashamed, as though the assault was their fault; those who know it wasn’t still have little faith in a criminal justice system that routinely disregards the testimony of victims.

(…)

Mr. Weinstein’s lead lawyer said her client was simply “a target of a cause and of a movement.” That’s correct — if the cause is holding sexual abusers to account, and the movement is the national shift in consciousness over these crimes that arose in large part out of the revelation of Mr. Weinstein’s behavior. So his conviction, too, stands for something larger: that some measure of justice can be attained, and with it the balance of power between sexual predators and their victims can begin to shift.

— The New York Times