"Weinstein conviction marks a new era of justice" says sexual harassment lawyer

25 February 2020, 15:23 | Updated: 25 February 2020, 15:33

The conviction of Harvey Weinstein in a landmark case is the turning point in how we speak up about sexual abuse, a harassment lawyer has announced.

Shelagh was joined by Deeba Syed, a sexual harassment lawyer for Rights of Women who dubbed the landmark conviction the beginning of "a new era of justice".

On Monday, former Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting two women in a momentous occasion for the #MeToo movement.

Ms. Syed described the difficulty of prosecuting abusers in the past as women felt undermined by the system along with a "fear of their careers and their reputations" being tarnished because of legal action against their abusers.

Shelagh backed up the status quo of the past, recalling "the fact a working relationship continued is deemed to be proof the woman is lying" in many cases in years gone by.

Weinstein was found guilty of rape and sexual assault
Weinstein was found guilty of rape and sexual assault. Picture: PA

What had to be stressed by Ms. Syed was also what has become a monumental part of the Weinstein case. She made the point that although working relationships continue, it "does not mean a rape or sexual assault has not occurred".

Women used to be the cross examined in such cases in the eyes of Ms. Syed. "When they complain about sexual harassment they are disbelieved" she claimed.

The lawyer called for greater awareness of the difficulties of coming forward for women to take harassment cases like this into the spotlight.

"Women are suffering in silence" she claimed. The conviction of Weinstein should be a motivation for women to speak up and be heard in future as the trial has proved "when people come together they can achieve justice".