Studying victimology involves looking into the victims of crimes. In other words, according to Daigle and Muftic (2019), victimology, a branch of criminologywhich was first used by Benjamin Mendelsohn in 1947, is “the study of the causes of victimization, its consequences, how the criminal justice system accommodates and assists victims, and how other elements of society, such as the media, deal with crime victims” (p. 1). Since victimology consists of examining the psychological impacts of wrongdoings on the relationship between victims and the justice system, this paper seeks to exploit the sexual assault that involved Harvey Weinstein, a movie mogul. During his career as a film producer, Weinstein used his influential position to commit criminal sexual acts. It was reported to be dozens of women who accused Weinstein of sexual assault, rape and sexual abuse over a period of thirty years. Shortly after the accusations, Weinstein was dismissed from ‘The Weinstein Company’ and expelled from ‘The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’. In a bid to come up with the relationships between Harvey and his victims, this paper will explain various aspects common in victimology and are crucial in analyzing Harvey’s case (Fry, 2020). The victims, nature of the perpetrator (Harvey Weinstein), victim-blaming responsibility, investigation and prosecution, and sentencing will be explained in depth.
Over 100 woman have publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct that ranges from rape to unwanted touching. Mimi Haleyi, Jessica Mann, and for other women took the stand to testify against Weinstein. In total, there were 28 witnesses that took the stand. Rose McGowan, Salma Hayek and Gwyneth Paltrow are also a few of the many women who have reported charges ranging from rape to sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein, the movie mogul. An actress also accused Weinstein of forcing her into oral sex at a hotel at Sundance Film Festival when she was just 23. The actress claims that the perpetrator offered her $100,000, and he later settled to providing a million dollars or her to keep silent, but the actress declined and is now the most vocal of his accusers (Fry, 2020). Soprano’s former actress also alleged that Weinstein forcefully accessed her apartment in New York and forced her into having sex with him. She attests that she was ashamed and even regretted opening the door.
Harvey Weinstein, born on March 19, 1952, is the perpetrator of all the sexual assaults alleged by the victims in the preceding section. The accused face up to five charges of sexual assault that relate to two ladies from New York. He has once accepted his acts and agreed that it had cause a lot of pain but described the contentions as purely lies. On another occasion, his spokesperson said that sex without both parties’ consent is unacceptable but again witness that not even one of the women demonstrated an act of retaliation (Fry, 2020).
Victim Blaming Responsibility
Serval victims shared their horrible experience, which included their disbelief, panic, and the negotiations they underwent while feeling powerless. Such powerlessness led to the victims gaining an inevitable self-criticism. This appeared in a manner that Weinstein had perfected the art of victim-blaming responsibility. The women who fell victim to the perpetrator’s moves felt that the trauma changed their lives. As if that was not enough, the victims blamed themselves and made no further move to report the matter because they carried the more significant blame. For example, Delevingne said that she was slow to report the case because she did not want to hurt the perpetrator’s family (The Guardian 2020). She further claims that she was wrestling her own self-blame, which made her believe that she was the one that committed an offense.
There were celebrations over social media when Harvey Weinstein was led out of the courtroom and taken into custody. Rose McGowan, an actress, was happy that Weinstein would not be free anymore. In her response to the sentence, McGowan claimed that at least the mogul will feel the pain of power wrapped around his neck. On another account, several advocates said that the case proved how hard it is to get a solution in cases surrounding sexual assaults. Another advocate to one of the victims attested that the sentence marked a new era of fairness whereby no woman should ever shy from reporting any sexual harassment incident. Many respondents were so keen to note how Weinstein would have rotten in jail for life if they were not for some seven men and five women to acquit him of two serious sexual assaults (The Guardian, 2020).
After several allegations on Weinstein’s behavior, a law enforcement source was tasked to carry out a serious investigation on the matter. Once the police doing the investigations, several allegations started surfacing and were reported. For instance, the case of Gutierrez began emerging in the tabloids. In 2010, she attended one infamous party commonly known as the “Bunga Bunga” party. She was very innocent of what exactly was taking place and even had no idea about the party’s nature. She made an allegation of sexual assault against an old businessman. The police claimed that they could not doubt Gutierrez’s accounts because they were investigating Mr. Weinstein. Another law officer alleged that they gathered enough information to prosecute Weinstein (Fry, 2020). The case was taken seriously, and the Sex Crime Unit launched a very fruitful investigation.
Weinstein’s prosecution took a unique path. He was charged with very many crimes that involved sexual assault—some of the crimes dated back to more than two decades. The allegations were rarely spoken about until the case gathered momentum that culminated in such a trial in recent years. Many women accused Harvey Weinstein of various harassment crimes, including intimidation and rape (The Guardian, 2020). The movie mogul was prosecuted in Manhattan and Los Angeles, where prosecutors got the popular momentum that helped them press charges on Weinstein.
In the same year that the movie legend, Weinstein, was turning 68, he was sentenced to serve a 23-year prison term for sexual assault and rape cases. The mogul was locked up in Wende correctional facility near Buffalo, and he was assigned inmate number 20B0584. Wende is just a six-hour ride by car from Manhattan. According to the officers in charge, the cell could be his temporary stop because it is from that station that he will be evaluated to determine a favorable prison for him (The Guardian, 2020). He needs a prison that will meet his health, security, and other needs. The mogul’s lawyers and his spokesperson referred to the move as a harsh one. The lawyers vowed to appeal the case.
Weinstein’s sentence is a reminder of how difficult it is to obtain justice in cases that involve sexual assault. Even though the judgement was welcomed by many, the trial demonstrated that it is tough for women to get justice for sexual assaults. In my view, the idea that rapists are devious is not right, but just destructive. It is an idea that cannot even allow us to believe that any kind and generous person we know could have once sexually assaulted someone in their entire lives. The healing process after an assault is very steep and challenging. It is full of breakdowns and resilience. After such bad ordeals, one would have to learn to live with our remaining surviving selves.
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