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Five Years Later, Important #MeToo Voices Honor Movement – ​​Daily Local


Once again, it marks a significant milestone this month as humiliated mogul Harvey Weinstein sits in court and charges are launched against him while he faces trial in Los Angeles.

The Associated Press went back to Louisette Geis and Andrea Constant, whistleblowers in two of the most important cases of the #MeToo era. Weinstein was convicted in a New York case and Bill Cosby was once convicted and is now released. Change, whether there are any regrets, and how hopeful they are after legal consequences have apparently been mixed.

And we want to thank the woman who first coined the term — Tarana Burke, a longtime sexual assault survivor advocate and victim herself — on her own journey, the resilience of the movement, and what lies ahead. I heard about the issue.

Louisette Geis: Lawsuits and Musicals

Overall, Louisette Geis considers herself one of the lucky ones. It was when she tried to escape from her hotel room to escape Harvey’s Weinstein’s invitations that her door opened. she was able to escape.

Former actress and screenwriter Geiss accused Weinstein in 2017 of trying to coerce her into watching him masturbate in a hotel bathroom in 2008, accusing the gang against his former studio. He was the principal plaintiff in the lawsuit.

But fighting through the justice system — an experience that deeply frustrated her — wasn’t the only avenue Geis tried to deal with.

“The Right Girl” was lost by the pandemic, but will be produced live on stage in 2023. The show tells the story of three women with varying levels of power in the workplace, with a stellar production team that includes songwriter Diane Warren. Haunted by serial criminals.

“Ultimately, we know the justice system is not yet in the right place to try him,” Geis said. “It’s really society that puts him down.”

The latter reflects Geiss’ view that he absorbed the #MeToo lessons faster than the former, but it’s still imperfect.

“I think the MeToo movement has definitely put a pause on predators from acting on their tendencies,” she said. It’s less likely to do that, but I think they still do it.”

Sometimes, yes, she regretted coming forward. She was concerned about the impact on her children, now 7 and her 5. But it was also her children that made her realize that she had to fight.

“Ultimately, it was important for me to step up and do it to make a bigger difference for women and children, your children, and my children.

That’s also why Geiss, 48, continues to encourage young survivors to continue to speak out.

“You don’t want your name to be synonymous with Weinstein. Neither do I,” she said of pitching them. They won’t go away until you keep screaming about them.”

Andrea Constant: “It was the right thing to do”

For Andrea Constant, the lead accuser in Cosby’s criminal case, the last five years have been tumultuous, let alone the decade before.

Cosby’s lawyers loudly mocked Cosby as a “cheater” during the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era in 2018. Yet a jury found the aging comedian guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2005, and a judge sent him to prison. A Pennsylvania court of appeals then released Cosby last year.

Constant turned himself in to police a year after meeting Cosby, which he called consensual. Prosecutors declined to press charges, saying she later secretly promised Cosby not to be prosecuted, and the first jury to hear her case in 2017 was unable to reach a verdict. .

After years of storms, Constant keeps his composure. She believes these are just the early stages of the movement.

“I think it was a much needed time to be able to address how serious sexual violence is in boardrooms, corporations, the entertainment industry, and in general everywhere,” said Constand, 49. said this month. A rural retreat she says brings solitude and peace from her home near Toronto.

“A lot of trauma has been released,” she added. “Keeping secrets can make you feel really bad.”

AP does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly.

While continuing her work as a massage therapist, she is lobbying lawmakers to adopt a legal definition of consent. When jurors in both Cosby’s Pennsylvania trial and Weinstein’s New York trial deliberated, they asked for a definition, but the laws in both states were silent.

She wrote a memoir and started a foundation to help victims of sexual assault through physical, mental and emotional recovery. She also created her mobile app where survivors can seek trauma-informed services.

“I had everything to lose and nothing to gain,” Constant said of the 2006 police complaint.

But despite all the twists and turns, she concluded, “It was the right thing to do,” citing #MeToo movements around the world.

“You… everyone is out of that shame and that silence,” she said.


Harvey Weinstein. R. Kelly. Bill Cosby. Two were imprisoned and one was released.

Tarana Burke says the success of the #MeToo movement can only be measured through the lens of celebrity and as a scorecard of famous “winners” and “losers.”

Rather, sexual assault survivor advocates say cultural change should be the key indicator. She says she did.

“Five and a half years ago we were unable to have a sustained global conversation about sexual violence within the framework of social justice. “It was being done,” she said.

Burke, 49, coined the term “Me Too” as part of her advocacy campaign more than a decade before a hashtagged tweet from actor Alyssa Milano exploded in the wake of Weinstein’s accusations. rice field.

Just six months ago, Burke attended an organizing retreat in California, handing out t-shirts while making enough money to tour black colleges and universities to revitalize his work and raise awareness. I dreamed of a way to raise funds. When the spotlight shifted to #MeToo in late 2017, her first concern was that her work behind her own phrases would be stolen. However, she soon realized she had a great opportunity.

“It’s the kind of change we need to see sustainable change, and we’re still working on it. would have taken 20 years.

Burke has spent the last few years building an organization to promote the movement and has published a raw memoir, Unbound, which includes an account of how she herself was raped at the age of seven. .

Burke proudly says a new Pew survey shows that more than twice as many Americans support #MeToo as they do against it. But she says struggles remain, especially when it comes to including black, indigenous, transgender and women with disabilities in the conversation and stepping up fundraising.

The goal now is to maintain the momentum and regain the initial enthusiasm.

Burke wants to remind people that in the first year about 19 million people posted “me too” on Twitter.

“This is why we’re doing exercise we can’t ignore,” Burke says.


Follow AP Legal Writer Maryclaire Dale on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Maryclairedale and AP National Writer Jocelyn Noveck at https://twitter.com/JocelynNoveckAP.

https://www.dailylocal.com/2022/10/14/5-years-on-key-metoo-voices-take-stock-of-the-movement/ Five Years Later, Important #MeToo Voices Honor Movement – ​​Daily Local

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