It is hard to tell whether any of the women who have allegedly suffered sexual assault at the hands of producer Harvey Weinstein will get the justice they deserve. Just take Bill Cosby as an example. Andrea Constand has a court case against Cosby regarding a sexual assault incident that happened in 2005. Despite several women standing behind Constand and sharing their sexual assault stories — further incriminating Cosby — the verdict was declared a mistrial. Accusations against both Cosby and Weinstein have been archived for a long time, sealed with the defendants’ denials. Public outcry broke out against Cosby when comedian Hannibal Buress created the “You rape women, Bill Cosby” punchline in 2014. It is tragic that among several detailed accusations from various sexual assault victims and witnesses, it took a man to pin these allegations down.
The fate of Weinstein’s allegations will most likely be the same as Cosby’s. As California residents, both would serve between 24 to 48 months for crimes that they have committed over 624 and 396 months, respectively. However, their dirty hands will probably never be cuffed. Even if they did serve time, it would be nothing compared to the trauma several women have to live with for the rest of their lives. This apparent pattern in the justice system when dealing with these sexual assault allegations needs to change.
What makes it even worse is that publications and sources knew of both cases. But publications had several helping hands trying to cover them up and ensuring no one spoke about it. Sure, Weinstein’s wife left him. He was expelled by the Academy and his company, but the true test is to see whether he can avoid legal punishment. If history is proof, the 36 women who came forward and many other anonymous testimonies against Weinstein will not be enough evidence to bring justice to the victims. Chris Brown violated Rihanna’s restraining order against him, but escaped jail time by playing the favorite cover-up card: rehab. This just shows that no matter how hard women try to get justice, men always seem to be able to outrun them.
It’s as if fame provides a shield. These men almost never have to face the consequences of their allegations and crimes. Each time, they continue to live on. They may get a tarnished reputation, but the women are still struggling, still fighting to survive. However, by no means should this discourage women from trying to receive justice. The system, like always, is against them, but this can change. Here is to hoping that this time, these brave women’s stories can prove this cycle of history wrong.
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A version of this appeared in the Monday, Oct. 23 print edition. Email Allison De La Bastida [email protected]