The news that former movie producer Harvey Weinstein has been convicted of sexual assault and rape has triggered an outpouring of emotion on social media and a plea to recognise the bravery of the group of 'Silence Breakers' who spoke out against him.
The 'Silence Breakers' refers to a term coined by TIME Magazine when they awarded 2017 Person of the Year to the collective group of women and men who undertook "individual acts of courage" to speak about their experiences with sexual assault.
The Weinstein case marks a major milestone in the #MeToo movement which took off in October 2017 when numerous allegations against the former movie producer came to light.
Journalist Ronan Farrow, who wrote the 2017 articles in The New Yorker that helped uncover allegations of sexual abuse against Weinstein, asked followers to keep the women who came forward “at great personal cost and risk” in their thoughts today.
Actress Ellen Barkin, a close friend of Annabella Sciorra, also acknowledged those involved, tweeting, “Right now Harvey Weinstein is on his way to prison. These are the women that put him away” before going on to name the six women who were involved in the court case.
Actress Reese Witherspoon voiced her support for the Time’s Up campaign in the wake of the decision, tweeting, “Today’s historic win in the Weinstein trial is a testament to the bravery and resilience of the #SilenceBreakers, and a victory for survivors everywhere.” She went on to encourage her followers to pledge to continue the fight for justice.
The 'Silence Breakers' themselves also responded to the verdict, sharing a statement via Twitter. They commended the women for coming forward “despite intimidation from Weinstein’s legal team” and sharing their stories with “the jury, the courtroom and the world.”
Actress Ashley Judd, a member of the Silence Breakers group also tweeted, “For the women who testified in this case, and walked through traumatic hell, you did a public service to girls and women everywhere, thank you”.
Tarana Burke, who founded the ‘me too’ movement back in 2006 joined others in calling for survivors to be acknowledged as Weinstein was convicted. In a statement released on the ‘me too’ website she says, “We would do well to ask ourselves how many of these women’s names we can actually remember, beyond the boldface few? Certainly Harvey’s name will be seared in our collective memories, but many of the survivors will be quietly taking stock of the impact.”
Elizabeth Banks shared the news of Weinstein’s conviction with her followers, saying, “I am heartened for his victims and for all those who said #metoo and #TimesUp that some justice has been done.”
The emphasis on survivors is clear and the collective desire for justice is clear. Actress Mira Sorvino summed it up, tweeting, “The beginning of #justice. More to come, my sisters. #weinsteinguilty”
Zoe Victoria is a freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter @Zoe__V