Harvey Weinstein, De-Facto Founder of #MeToo Movement, Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison
On March 11, 2020, the judge in the Harvey Weinstein case sentenced the defendant to 23 years in prison after his conviction for the sex crimes that, in part, sparked the #MeToo movement and encouraged women to speak out about sexual harassment and other forms of sexual abuse.
According to CNN, when Weinstein addressed the court before his sentence was handed down, he claimed remorse for his crimes. At the same time, Weinstein claimed that men are confused about the issues. Clearly, Weinstein does not genuinely understand the pain that he caused his victims. Hopefully, as he serves his sentence, he will grasp a better understanding of his misused assumptions of his power and the resulting hurt he caused.
Weinstein’s sentence ends a years-long saga of allegations and trials that sparked an outpouring of accusations against additional celebrities and ordinary citizens alike. In the years since 2018 (when the Weinstein allegations were first reported), three additional states enacted laws requiring mandatory harassment training, and several more officially recommended that employers teach their workforce about the dangers of tolerating a culture of harassment similar to Weinstein’s.
In addition to the increased awareness and lack of tolerance for harassment, the Weinstein allegations should help create a culture of empowerment when people are no longer afraid to bring to light incidents of sexual abuse and harassment, whether at work, in schools, or social situations. Partially because of this, private lawsuits and EEOC complaints of harassment and sex discrimination rose in each of the years since the Weinstein allegations.
Still, there is much work to be done. Many women still report a lack of security and safety in the workplace. Some men fear to work closely or alone with women due to concerns over potential harassment allegations. But we can credit the Weinstein case as lighting the fire for an era of openness and education concerning these very serious issues. We can only hope that in short term, we see a reduction in incidents, continued awareness, and improvement in workplace culture for all.