Time’s Up, the anti-sexual harassment advocacy group launched by Hollywood celebrities, commended the women taking the stand at Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial, which is currently underway in New York City.
The group released a statement on Thursday morning, shortly ahead of the day in court, which is expected to see testimony from “The Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra, who has accused Weinstein of rape in the early ’90s. During Wednesday’s opening statements, the prosecution provided the jury with a detailed account of Sciorra’s story.
Sciorra will be one of six women accusing Weinstein of sexual assault or rape to testify during the trial, which is expected to last two months. Former Weinstein Company production assistant Mimi Haleyi and former actress Jessica Mann are the two women on which Weinstein’s five charges are based. Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff, and Lauren Young will serve as Molineux witnesses, which the judge has allowed, in order to show a pattern of sexual predatory sexual assault.
“Mimi Haleyi, Jessica Mann, Annabella Sciorra, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff, and Lauren Young will be courageously taking the stand in the name of justice — all while facing Harvey Weinstein in open court. We are in awe of these women,” Time’s UP CEO and president Tina Tchen said in a statement released on Wednesday.
She continued, “Today should be about survivors finally being heard and finally being given the respect and dignity they deserve. But as the world watches the trial unfold, the defense will put forward disproven myths about rape and assault in an effort to discredit them and their stories. No matter what happens in the courtroom, Time’s Up believes these survivors. And we thank them for giving voice to survivors everywhere, who for too long have been silenced by powerful forces.”
Along with the statement, Time’s Up also provided key facts about how sexual trauma affects victims of sexual assault, along with a great amount of research and detail. Among the information included was that sexual assault is most often committed by people known to their victims; for a variety of reasons, victims may remain friendly with their abusers; it often takes time for survivors to report to anyone, let alone to the authorities; many rapists are repeat offenders; after one victim comes forward, others may follow; traumatic memories are vivid for victims while banal details are forgotten; and that “false memories” are not likely at play in acquaintance sexual assault.
During opening statements on Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast told jurors, in vivid detail, about Sciorra’s relationship with Weinstein, including the night she alleges she was raped in 1993 or 1994. At the time, Weinstein pushed his way into her apartment, began unbuttoning his shirt, raped her and ultimately left her on the floor with her nightgown halfway around her waist. “She told him to get out. She told him no. But Harvey Weinstein was undeterred,” Hast said. “Annabella remembers at some point giving up the fight and just hoping it would end.”
Weinstein’s defense, during their opening statements, strongly denied this ever happened, telling the jury that the evidence will prove Weinstein did not rape Sciorra. “It’s not credible,” Weinstein’s attorney Damon Cheronis said, specifically citing the fact that it would have been impossible for Weinstein to get up to her apartment and push his way through her door, given that she lived in a secure doorman building. Cheronis also said since Sciorra does not remember the exact date of the alleged rape, “We can’t interview people to find out where Harvey Weinstein was that day. We can’t interview neighbors to find out what happened.”