Not too long ago did Harvey Weinstein go from acclaimed Hollywood producer to convicted sex offender.
Since 2017, more than eighty women have come forward to share their harrowing experiences of rape and sexual assault from the 66-year-old film mogul. Their stories helped spark the #MeToo movement, whereby women publicly denounce the sex crimes they suffered at the hands of powerful men.
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Fil-Italian model Ambra Guiterrez was coerced to sign a non-disclosure agreement following her sexual assault from Harvey Weinstein. She had previously recorded the disgraced producer as part of a sting operation with the New York Police Department.
Atty. Twyla Rubin, OIC of Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights Center in the Philippines, has been the following the Harvey Weinstein case closely. When Discovery Channel Southeast Asia announced it was airing a documentary about him this year, she encouraged people to watch it.
“This documentary of Harvey Weinstein is very important because as it is able to show the rare account of women who are able to stand up, come together to hold into account a perpetrator who is very influential,” she said in a release.
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Rowena Chiu, former personal assistant to and victim of Harvey Weinstein likewise broke her nondisclosure agreement amid the #MeToo movement
While the #MeToo movement started in the US, it quickly spread to other parts of the world including the Philippines. Speaking to Discovery Channel Southeast Asia, Rubin knows firsthand how the movement relates to Filipinas.
Stressed Rubin, one out of four women in the Philippines are victims of spousal violence. But only a fraction of them report their cases. When it comes to sexual violence, the number of reported cases can be higher.
Nevertheless, she recognizes the stigma surrounding these issues. “This is the reason why many women decide not to report cases or to file cases in court. The way that the justice system would treat rape survivors or survivors of violence as if they were the ones at fault for the violence that they experienced. This kind of insensitive attitude of justice systems often is the reason why women would not report and also it really impacts women’s access to justice,” she explained.
As survivors continue to speak up and expose their perpetrators, there is still a long way to go in the fight against sexual violence. But Harvey Weinstein’s trial verdict was a profound win that will empower women in the years to come.
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Photographs provided by Discovery Channel Southeast Asia