Jurors are deliberating in the case of Hollywood millionaire Harvey Weinstein. What if he gets off? What if he’s acquitted on the rape and abuse charges he faces in New York?
The conventional wisdom suggests this will be a big setback for the #MeToo movement.
We predict not. That may seem counter-intuitive.
But take a step back for a second. Think of “the moral arc of the universe” (as Martin Luther King called it). If you can be even somewhat objective, you’ll realize that this long arc continues to inexorably bend in the right direction – toward justice, healing and prevention – as it has for decades. And no one trial involving one predator, even a powerful and high profile predator, can really change that.
More and more, our society and our laws favor the wounded and the vulnerable. More and more, the powerful, shrew and well-connected wrongdoers are being exposed, charged, sued and punished.
Not enough of them. Not quickly enough. Not harshly enough. But it’s happening, more and more, and will continue to do so, even if Weinstein walks.
In fact, if this injustice happens, it may in fact prod even more victims, advocates, lawmakers and law enforcement personnel to try even harder in the future.
Some are paralyzed by injustice. Others are spurred on to work even more to stop it.
We’re not being Pollyannas here. We know an acquittal will hurt many people very deeply. Our hearts ache for them. We know it may inspire defense lawyers for other predators to play legal hardball, as Weinstein lawyer Donna Rotunno did. We know if may make a few prosecutors more fearful about taking on big shot perpetrators.
Still, the #MeToo movement is here, it’s strong, and it’s not going away. Nor should it. Nor should any of the other encouraging movements that are uniting and motivating men and women who’ve been assaulted in schools, churches, Scouting, athletic programs and the like.
Still, literally thousands of long-silent, deeply wounded but incredibly brave survivors of rape, abuse and assault have been breaking their silence, calling police, filing lawsuits, giving interviews and helping to unearth decades of horror, thereby preventing more horror and healing themselves in the process. That’s not going to stop.
So if Weinstein gets off, each of us has a choice: We can become part of the paralyzed. Or part of the energized. We at Horowitz Law work hard already. But it this arrogant, manipulative man walks, we promise we’ll work even harder to stop the next Harvey Weinstein.