News, Column: The bravery of Jennifer Siebel Newsom facing Harvey Weinstein — and facing us all : detailed suggestions and opinions about Column: The bravery of Jennifer Siebel Newsom facing Harvey Weinstein — and facing us all .
Jennifer Siebel Newsom did not have to testify against Harvey Weinstein. But Monday, she did — reminding us that sexual assault carries its own kind of life sentence for victims.
Siebel Newsom took the stand in the downtown Los Angeles courtroom where Weinstein faces charges of multiple sex crimes only a few minutes before court stopped for a lunch break. But in those few minutes, her pain and humiliation seeped out of a wound still open, 17 years after it was inflicted.
Asked if she could identify Weinstein, she began to cry. Later in the day, in detail heartbreaking, explicit and profound in its ugliness, she described Weinstein raping her in a Los Angeles hotel room in 2005. It was an encounter “like an out-of-body experience,” she said, that left her frozen and “trying to process what happened.”
For those of you whipping out your phones to email me that she’s acting, that she kept in touch with her accused rapist, that she did this or that which proves her a willing participant in her own victimization — please don’t bother. I’ve heard it in literally every sexual assault case I have ever covered. In the many years I’ve done this, I’ve never come across a single instance in which someone wasn’t willing to argue, “She asked for it.”