Resentment over trump election helped fuel weinstein case electricity laws physics


Harvey Weinstein, right, appears at his arraignment with his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday, May 25, 2018 in New York. Weinstein is charged with two counts of rape and one count of criminal sexual act. He was released on $1 million dollars bail. (Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News via AP, Pool)

NEW YORK (AP) — Throughout much of last year, millions of American women resented that a man who’d bragged about sexually assaulting women had been elected president. Then came an electrifying moment — detailed allegations that another powerful man had sexually assaulted or harassed dozens of women as one of Hollywood’s leading producers.

“It just explodes. It was like throwing a match into a bucket of kerosene,” said Kathy Spillar, executive director of the Feminist Majority Foundation, describing the reaction to accusations against Harvey Weinstein that helped launch the #MeToo movement.

“We, as victims of that kind of behavior, we had all heard that kind of talk before,” said Weinstein accuser Louisette Geiss. “And then you felt like, oh my gosh, now someone can treat women like that and become president! It was just, ‘Enough is enough.’”

“The backlash to him and his election was so massive among women that that was the setup,” Spillar said. “I don’t think the Weinstein Effect could have happened without the Trump Effect first, and the massive women’s marches and the protests.”

“I watched Harvey Weinstein walk out of the police station in handcuffs and closed my eyes and thought about what it would be like to see my rapist walk out in handcuffs,” she said. “It’s something I will never see. But so many women today did, and that’s something.”

“We heard these stories (about Weinstein) after a man accused of sexual assault and harassment from multiple women ascended to the highest office in the country,” she said. “Victims of sexual assault want to believe that justice will be served regardless of who the abuser is. Weinstein has shown us that it’s possible.”

Geiss, 44, says she had an encounter with him in a hotel room in 2008, when he undressed and tried to force her to watch him masturbate. She says she managed to elude his grasp and run out, but the incident convinced her to leave the movie business.

Though the Weinstein allegations, as initially reported by The New York Times and The New Yorker, were a catalyst for #MeToo, the movement did not emerge out of thin air. Activists involved in combatting sexual assault on campus and in the military had laid groundwork over the previous years, and were poised to help expand #MeToo once it emerged.

The Weinstein allegations “demonstrated that men who prey on women have handlers and enablers that allow them to assault and harass with impunity — silencing victims and ruining lives,” said Debra Katz, a sex-harassment lawyer based in Washington, D.C. “Exposing not only the harassers … but the systems that allowed them to get away with this for decades jump-started the #MeToo movement.”