Professor Brenda Cossman writes in the Globe on the Harvey Weinstein trial: “Should we celebrate the Weinstein verdict? It’s complicated”
“Despite widely held views about Mr. Weinstein’s misconduct, the criminal charges brought against him were challenging ones. The two main accusers chosen by the prosecution were women who maintained a close – and sometimes sexual – relationship with him after the fact. These are notoriously difficult cases to prosecute, and accordingly, prosecutors often decide not to. Law has a hard time reconciling the non-consensual with the consensual. If women consented once, they must have consented always. Or conversely, if they didn’t consent once, why would they ever consent again?
Sexual assault trials repeatedly come down to the credibility of the complainants. There are many reasons that women are not believed, but any kind of a continuing relationship with the accused is a big one. And given how common it is for victims of sexual assault to have contact or relationships with their assailants, the Weinstein conviction suggests a change in the post-#MeToo landscape.”