Weinstein convicted

Quinten Sargent

Although the National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports 91% of victims of rape and sexual assault are female and nine percent are male, the study conducted by the United States Department of Justice in 2006 claimed there were 2,205 male inmate-on-inmate non-consensual sex acts reported throughout the prison system.

After reports of the Inglorious Bastards producer, Harvey Weinstein, was sent to Rikers following the jury conviction of criminal assault and third degree rape, I began to see Twitter posts and Instagram comments of people wishing for inmates to inflict the pain he inflicted on these women and these Hollywood hopefuls upon him. And it was weirdly heartbreaking.

Weinstein’s trial, which began on Jan. 6, included testimonies of six women who testified under oath that Weinstein had assaulted each of them within the last three decades. Although still facing four related charges in Los Angeles County, Weinstein was charged 25 years for the criminal sexual assault conviction and 18 months to four years for the third-degree rape conviction. He will be sentenced on March 11.

Weinstein was a monster. Two of his accusers testified he told them the only way to get ahead in Hollywood was to trade sexual favors, even adding the A-list actresses had done the same. This holds true in Gwyneth Paltrow’s case, since she claimed before her rise to fame in 2018 she had been summoned to Weinstein’s hotel to give him a massage.

Knowing some of the aftereffects rape has on victims, whether it be testimonies from this case or any situation, wishing rape upon Weinstein instills rape culture, which ultimately opposes our efforts to make those victims’ voices heard.

The suffering, the pain, and having to sleep at night knowing that this man’s work has always been praised. This man, who has produced some of our favorite films, had the capability, desire, and the willingness to use his power to prey on young women.

That should piss you off.  

The fact of the matter is rape is never deserved. To say a victim or a survivor is not at fault and then imply someone really deserves rape disproves that whole theory.

Contrary to Weinstein’s convictions, in prison rape cases, the victim and predator are usually the same sex due to gender-segregated confinement. In male prisons, rapists generally identify as heterosexual and coerce “punks,” a term for inmates who are confined to performing receptive sex acts, into sexual encounters in exchange for protection.

The issue at hand is mass incarceration– the unorthodox way the U.S. has impounded a vast population in federal and state prison, even local jails, and the abuse of power and lack of supervision by the people reigning over the institution.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, in 2016 the prison population grew 9.5 percent from 2006 through 2011, which identifies the issue of declining inmate-to-staff ratios throughout institutions across the country. 

Understaffing and overcrowding have resulted in an increase to prison assault crimes, although sexual acts upon Weinstein are highly unlikely due to his high profile identity. 

Frank Perrone, defense attorney and former Queens prosecutor, said Weinstein will not likely be put in general population, but kept separate for his own protection.

“In prison individuals that are convicted of sexual crimes such as rape, their time is much harder than the guy selling drugs or burglarizing a house,” said Perrone. “So here’s someone who would probably need to have protective custody so they could ensure his safety.”

Be mad, reestablish that #MeToo hashtag, and extend a hand to that victim across the room. Obliterate Weinstein and his abuse of power and status to victimize young industry hopefuls.

Although sometimes it seems fair to wish harm to Weinstein, to imply rape is deserved ultimately harms victims as well and perpetuates a sustaining rape culture.