After almost three years of waiting, Harvey Weinstein’s victims finally saw some form of action taken against the man. However, they didn’t receive quite the justice they thought they deserved, as Weinstein was acquitted of the more severe charges.
Sadly, this is the case for many rape and sexual assault victims across the world. They don’t receive the justice they deserve, or think they deserve.
Rape and sexual assault accusations have and likely always will be a touchy subject, especially in a courtroom. However, the notion that people make these accusations simply to ruin others’ lives has lived out its stay. Also, reasoning for lenient sentencing for those found guilty is truly unjustified.
It is plastered all over social media and news sources. College students found guilty, but they only have to pay a fine. Jacob Walter Anderson, Brock Turner, and Owen Labrie are only but a few names that share this common theme — light sentencing for a harsh crime.
By doing this, the American justice system is sadly putting a worth on a woman’s body. Is $400 the price society places on a woman’s trauma? In some cases, it sadly is.
In addition, many of these lighter sentences don’t make the assaulter register as a sex offender, which they clearly are.
Many argue that just because that someone makes a mistake like this in their youth, they shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives. Though I recognize the fact that everyone makes mistakes, the only way people will learn from them is if there are consequences to their actions.
A $400 dollar fine, counseling, and a month or two in prison are not comparable to the damage done to a woman during assault or rape.
However, one positive comes from these cases. Women begin to trust women and other people for that fact. With Weinstein in question, the #MeToo movement grew. Though the hashtag originated in 2006, it and its purpose have grown in the last couple of years.
When people see other people share their stories, it inspires them to share theirs as well. In 2017, 54% of women reported experiencing some type of unwanted sexual advances. Furthermore, the movement inspired an even more taboo topic to come into light — men experiencing sexual assault. Thankfully, more men have come forward with their experiences in the last couple of years.
This movement is amazing because it shows people they aren’t alone. People of any race, any gender, any age experience this type of thing.
Obviously, sexual assault cases are a scary thing to handle, and they likely always will be. Furthermore, the justice system still has far to go. To judge equally, not on the basis of age, power, and especially race.
However scary, know there is always someone who has gone through it. There is always someone to listen. The National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673) and similar organizations exist.