February 28, 2020
The actor has been battling for justice since the Hollywood producer attacked her more than 20 years ago. She talks about how that fight cost her motherhood and her career – but helped spark a movement
Rose McGowan: I wont be free of Harvey Weinstein until hes dead – or I am
Wow, has it been a huge week.” Rose McGowan is speaking on the phone from New York, vivid, unguarded, persuasive, so much more campaigner than celebrity. On Monday, Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape and sexual assault. McGowan was not in court, and her accusation of rape against Weinstein will never be brought, as a civil or criminal case. One of the stunning side notes of this scandal is the impact of having a statute of limitations in cases of sexual violence: more than 100 women have made chillingly similar allegations against Weinstein, yet only a handful of them were recent enough for charges to be pressed.
McGowan woke up an hour after the verdict was delivered, to a “raft of messages on my phone. And I thought: ‘He must be guilty because otherwise nobody would have texted me.’ The week before the trial, I got very little contact.” This has been McGowan’s reality since 1997, when Weinstein assaulted her at the Sundance film festival: she had pariah status, peppered periodically in gossip columns with insinuations about her character. Weinstein, as many of his victims attested, could freeze out an adversary so comprehensively that their phone would never ring again. “Everybody expected him to get off, including me,” says McGowan. “In my experience with this stuff, his defences were so strong. The two cases that were chosen to prosecute had never been successfully prosecuted in a court of law [because his accusers had continued to have contact with him after his attacks]. And also, I’m just a woman. We expect to get absolutely nothing. We’re so used to being dumped on that why would anybody believe us?”
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