Tina Tchen, president and CEO of the Time’s Up Foundation, on Monday hailed the criminal conviction of disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was found guilty by a New York jury of third-degree rape and a first-degree criminal sexual act.
“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,” she said.
She went on to credit individual women, including several who testified in the case for speaking out: “We owe a debt of gratitude to Mimi Haleyi, Jessica Mann, Annabella Sciorra, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff,and Lauren Young and all the Silence Breakers for their bravery and resolve as they faced this man in court. We continue to believe them — all of them — and continue to be in solidarity with them.”
In a statement released late Monday, the acknowledged leaders of the #MeToo movement said they are “grateful” to the women who came forward.
“They undertook immense sacrifices and suffered many hardships in order to share their truths,” Tarana Burke of the MeToo Movement, Fatima Goss Graves of National Women’s Law Center, Ai-jen Poo of National Domestic Workers Alliance, and Mónica Ramírez of Justice for Migrant Women said in a joint statement.
“This verdict sends a resounding message to survivors, to perpetrators and to allies. To survivors, this verdict reflects the fact that the jury, like millions of other people, believed them and understand the importance of holding perpetrators accountable for their actions. To perpetrators, it is proof that no one is above the law, not even those with power, money or visibility. To allies, it is a reminder of how important it is to stand with and by survivors when they come forward to share some of the deepest, most painful experiences.”
“The #MeToo Movement and this moment of reckoning was never about one man. It was about the many lives that he devastated and the countless people across the globe who have been afflicted with similar pain,” they continued.
“While we are clear that our work is far from over, today’s verdict is an incredibly important step in the #MeToo Movement and in the greater fight to end gender-based violence. It provides an opportunity to push for necessary reforms to the legal system, as well as for additional support for victims and survivors. Further, it bolsters the possibility for a societal rewiring to definitively shift culture, norms and behavior necessary to eliminate sexual violence all together.”
“Though a jury has spoken today, we must remember that for the survivors who brought charges and testified at Weinstein’s trial, this verdict is not the end of the road. It is another step in their healing journey. They will continue to need support from all of us, just like all survivors do, as they move forward with their lives.”
“We can not understate the importance of believing survivors, from the most visible to the least visible. May this be an opportunity for all of us to recommit to fighting for survivors of all backgrounds and to ensuring that they have the support that they need in order to pick up the pieces to put their lives back together.”
After the jury announced its verdict on Monday following four days of deliverations, Weinstein was immediately taken into custody and could face up to 25 years in prison for the crimes when he is sentenced on March 11. An appeal is expected.
The jury found Weinstein guilty of third-degree rape of Jessica Mann and a criminal sexual act of Miriam Haley (née Mimi Haleyi). However, the panel found him not guilty of two of the most serious charges — predatory sexual assault against Haley, Mann and “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra — and the first-degree rape of Mann.