Harvey Weinstein is Found Guilty of Rape:

On the 24th February 2020 movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of two felony sex crimes, criminal sexual assault in the first degree and rape in the third degree. He was acquitted on the most serious charges against him, predatory sexual assault.

Dozens of women over the years have come forward with allegations of rape, sexual harassment and predatory behaviour and for years he has managed to evade “capture” simply because of who he is. Harvey Weinstein was a powerful man and in today’s world powerful men seem to do what they like even if its rape, murder or fraud on a grand scale. The wheels of justice seem to turn very slowly as opposed to an unknown person who is arrested on the same charges. Weinstein faces a possible sentence of between five and 29 years.

What is Rape in the Third Degree?

According to US law, rape in the third degree is when a person engages in sexual intercourse without first receiving proper consent, other than being under the age of consent which falls under statutory rape. Under New York Penal Code, three degrees of rape exist, with first degree being the weightiest, and third-degree being the least. In New York, a person is guilty of third-degree rape when they engage in nonconsensual sex with another person. This is the law as it stands and as said before third-degree rape is the least of the rape charges.

Colour me ignorant but no consent is known as rape whether the person is known to the victim or not. I have a problem with degrees of rape, to begin with, because rape is not like murder. Murder can have degrees and whether you intentionally killed someone or mistakenly killed someone is very clear and understood by me. Rape, however, is different and as a woman in this dangerous world we live in, to my mind, there can be only two types of rape. One would be rape which means penetration occurred and the other would be attempted rape where penetration did not occur, (also a crime yes but with attempted preceding the word rape)

Consent is withheld:

If a convicted rapist such as Harvey Weinstein does not have consent to engage in sexual intercourse with his victims and even if the victim says nothing, but the body language screams out in protestation when first being touched then there is no consent. Who decides on these archaic laws that women must suffer under? No means no and not “playing hard to get.” Some victims may not be as outspoken as others but that does not mean consent and in this instance, silence is not consent! It is these grey areas in the law that allow men, especially wealthy powerful men to literally get away with murder.  Yes, I know that too often we have women shouting rape because they have “morning after regrets” but has anyone looked at those percentages? Yes, I acknowledge too that women can be vicious and predatory and lie about someone who may not be interested in them. But when this happens, those women should be prosecuted because they minimize the real-life experiences of rape victims. But again, how many of these are false claims and how many choose to remain silent because of the “shame” attached to being raped.

Some men are still of the opinion that all it takes is some convincing and or forcefulness and the woman will concede and if they concede then that’s not rape. Yes, it is. To those who believe that I ask them to walk around a shopping mall with someone’s hands grabbing their private parts and see if they like it. 

The waters have been muddied by these degrees of rape because quite frankly, a rapist that jumps out from behind bushes or that climbs through open windows with his face hidden by a ski mask as portrayed by Hollywood filmmakers does not have consent, yet this type of rape is always first degree.

In my opinion, having a third-degree rape is insinuating that somehow it is the woman’s fault. That the woman/women should have known better and not gone so willingly into Weinstein’s hotel suite. Yet, it is well known that Weinstein often conducted his business in his hotel suite.

Are women being punished for their ignorance and naivete?

It would seem so. Everyone seems to have known what Weinstein is like even the police, who according to one victim said, “again,” when she went to lay a charge against him. I agree that most people in the industry knew what he was like hence the warnings from his previous personal assistant to dress with a few layers of clothing when meeting with him. But what about the women, those aspiring actresses who come from small towns and have never heard those rumours about Weinstein? Why are they being tasked with bearing the burden of knowing what Weinstein was like? What if those reports were intentionally held away from these actresses and they went to his suite prepared to read from a script not fend off unwanted sexual advances and or threats of never making it in the industry if they did not comply?

It would seem that the days of the casting couch and women being held accountable and or responsible for men such as Harvey Weinstein is still very much in vogue.