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After two decades of living in “vague fear of Harvey Weinstein,” Mira Sorvino is opening up about why she chose to come forward with her story.
In a powerful op-ed for Time, the actress explains why she chose now to speak out against the disgraced Hollywood producer, revealing that she spent “sleepless nights” attempting to erase her encounter with Weinstein.
Sorvino’s harrowing experience with the mogul was first detailed in a shocking exposé by The New Yorker. The bombshell report, written and investigated by Ronan Farrow over the course of 10 months, brought to surface numerous sexual assault and rape allegations against Weinstein.
Sorvino writes that she started “crying and shaking” when Farrow first approached her about the piece, which recalled a 1995 incident in a hotel room that involved Weinstein giving Sorvino a massage and inappropriately attempting to “get more physical.” At the time, the actress was at the Toronto International Film Festival to promote her film Mighty Aphrodite, which was produced by Weinstein.
“I don’t think I even knew that what happened — him using business-related situations to try and press himself sexually on a young woman in his employ — qualified as sexual harassment. But as a woman who routinely advocates for women and girls who have been victimized in my role as Goodwill Ambassador with the United Nations, and as a mother, I could no longer remain silent,” she notes.
Upon agreeing to be interviewed for Farrow’s piece, she admits to being “terrified of retaliation, not only professional but the safety of my children.”
“Ultimately my conscience and my desire to break away from the tyranny of intimidation made me shakily agree to put my name and specifically identifiable details in my part of the New Yorker story,” Sorvino’s column continues. “We live in a culture in which sexual harassment and rape are rife, part of the power dynamic between men and women in the workplace. That my silence could be complicit in its continued thriving, possibly putting other young girls and women (and boys and men) in danger in Hollywood and beyond, was not something I could live with.”
The actress writes that relief washed over her once she knew her story would finally be printed by the publication, “a sense that finally I had taken my personal power back from a man who has made me scared every time I have seen him in public.”
Sorvino concludes her op-ed with a call for “a mass speaking-out” and a plea for women and men to change the culture of victim-shaming for future generations.
“It is time for the culture to shift — the age-old tradition of the monied and powerful imposing themselves sexually on the vulnerable and the weak. The Droit du Seigneur must end. And it must end now,” she writes. “This is not a partisan issue. It is not relegated to Hollywood, or red or blue states. Almost every woman I know has some harrowing tale of harassment or sexual assault, and almost every one of them has not gone public for a variety of reasons, including shame and fear.”
Sorvino adds, “Victim-shaming must be quelled, and the real evildoers called out and punished to the fullest extent of the law. We must, can and will work together to change that culture right now.”
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