The jury in New York heard a prosecution tackle prejudices head on about what a ‘real victim’ should have done
The trial of Harvey Weinstein was an extraordinary one for many reasons – his vast power and influence, his embodiment of the #MeToo movement, the high level of media attention, and the fact that more than 90 women came forward and named him as an abuser. This culminated in a watershed moment this Monday, when a jury found Weinstein guilty of serious sexual offences.
Throughout the trial, the defence had of course questioned whether “genuine victims” would have continued to work with a man who had hurt them. This is a common tactic. Belief in a rape survivors testimony has long turned on ideas about how a “real victim” and a “real perpetrator” behave. It is part of how the defence may undermine a survivor, and suggest her version of events isn’t credible: shouldn’t she have spoken out immediately? How could she continue to work or socialise or live with him? Would a real victim behave like that?
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