Harvey Weinstein sexual assault conviction: Verdict welcomed in Singapore

Harvey Weinstein arrives at the State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Feb 24, 2020. PHOTO: NYTIMES

SINGAPORE - Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of sexual assault and rape in New York on Monday (Feb 24) - a verdict welcomed here in Singapore by female activists and celebrities.

Ms Shailey Hingorani, head of research and advocacy of gender advocacy group Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware), told The Straits Times: "Justice is often elusive in cases of sexual violence, especially when the situation is clouded by potent sexual violence myths - such as 'rape cannot coexist with consensual sex in a relationship', or 'true victims do not continue to communicate with their assaulters after an attack'.

"We hope that this conviction gives other survivors the hope that justice is possible."

Ase Wang, a local actress who had previously spoken of Weinstein's inappropriate advances when she and a few other actresses were invited to dinner with him during a visit he made to Thailand, said that his verdict was a "long time coming" and she felt that "justice had finally been served".

The 38-year-old is optimistic that "women will be able to walk into auditions and interviews and be chosen for their talents instead of what they can put on the table inappropriately".

Asked about the impact of the verdict, Sharul Channa, a 33-year-old local stand-up comedienne, said: "The high-profile case will definitely bring awareness to the issue of workplace harassment. It will show that no matter how successful or big the sexual predator is in their industry, they cannot get away with sexual assault."

Local television presenter Anita Kapoor, who has been vocal about women's rights and workplace harassment, said that it was "unfortunate that society requires a high-profile case to grasp the severity of the issue of sexual assault, when the same injustices done to common men and women do not get as strong of a response".

She added: "The verdict will spark a conversation in the entertainment industry about why actors need to trade self-esteem and self respect to get to the top, and why they are not solely judged on their capabilities and talents."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.