Weinstein Accuser Lauren Sivan: "Speaking Up Can Pay Off"

Lauren Sivan - press conference outside the court on January 6, 2020- Getty-H 2020
Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Ever since the jury has been in deliberations, the first thing I do in the morning is check my phone for updates. Since I didn’t see any Monday, I had a friend inside the courtroom so I wrote to him, “Anything yet?” He said no but about 10 minutes later, my phone started blowing up.

There seemed to be a really big chance that he was going to walk so I think all of us were really bracing for the worst possible outcome — that he really would walk and we would have to explain why the #MeToo movement didn't work or why this wasn’t really the reckoning we had hoped for. We’re all grateful for the impact that it’s had so far and that this was being tried in a court of law, but we were nervous.

Then the verdict came back: He was guilty on two counts. Like [Manhattan District Attorney] Cy Vance later said, today is a totally new day. We’ve turned a corner because these types of cases are some of the most difficult to get a guilty verdict on; something like only 2 percent of these types of rape cases get a guilty verdict in court so we knew this was a really narrow legal agreement. The fact that we did get a partial conviction shows that victim shaming, victim blaming and putting the victim on trial is not going to work as a defense any longer. That’s antiquated. The culture has shifted and now, I believe, the legal system is shifted.

He didn't get convicted on the two most serious charges but getting convicted on two felonies in New York, he will serve time in jail and regardless of the amount of time served, he'll likely face trial here in L.A. He's not going anywhere. He's not harming anyone. He's not going to be out in public. He's not going to be rebuilding his Hollywood career like he threatened to do when this trial was over. He’s going to be in jail and that's where he belongs. The sheer numbers of victims would tell anyone that's where he belongs. There's more than a hundred of us and he’s been at this for 30 years.

For all of the women who were on that stand, I have the deepest gratitude for what they went through. It was really gut-wrenching to watch them torn apart by his defense team. You can see why more women don't come forward, why more women don't press charges because who wants to open themselves up to that kind of scrutiny? Having your entire sexual history put on display, all of your text messages, all of your behavior questioned ­— it's a horrible experience and they were brave enough to go through it. My hats are off to them and I hope today's verdict will show that speaking up can pay off and put a monster like Harvey Weinstein in jail.