'They blame the victim': Harvey Weinstein accuser welcomes latest guilty verdict

Bringing Harvey Weinstein to justice has been a signature achievement for the Me Too movement - and sent a powerful message across Hollywood and beyond, reports ITV News Correspondent Robert Moore

Katherine Kendall was 23 when she says was sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein in his apartment - but it took her 25 years to speak out about it, joining the voices of dozens of victims of the disgraced movie mogul.

Despite being "a wreck for years," after her ordeal in 1993, Ms Kendall chose to tell just three people because she was scared of reprisals - both from Weinstein and others.

"I told three people, my mother and maybe two of my best friends and felt that if they didn't keep it private that I would die.

"I was so afraid of him and his wrath. I felt like if I told people they might make fun of me, they wouldn't believe me.

"I knew that victim blaming, victim shaming, was the way things were. And when you have someone who's really popular and powerful in a room next to someone who's 23 with very little credit and just starting out in her life, they tend to blame the victim.

"I hope everyone realises that even a man with the keys to the kingdom of Hollywood can go down. He though he was untouchable....why wouldn't he?"

"They tend to blame the one with the less power."

On Monday, Weinstein was found guilty of the rape and sexual assault of one of the four accusers at his second sexual misconduct trial in Los Angeles.

Weinstein, 70, who is two years into a 23-year sentence for a rape and sexual assault conviction in New York that is under appeal, now faces a further 24 years in prison in California.

Over the course of five weeks, 44 witnesses testified in Weinstein's latest trial over accusations that he sexually assaulted four women, all known simply as “Jane Doe” in court.

Ms Kendall said this latest verdict is a key moment of accountability and sent a powerful message to Hollywood.

"It's important for people to see the scope of the pain he created" - Katherine Kendall says that it is vital each woman's story is heard

Best known for her starring role in the 1996 film Swingers, she said it was vital that each new case against Weinstein was brought before the courts, not just to allow victims to have their voices heard, but to also not to minimise his crimes.

The disgraced former Miramax co-founder is also facing two charges of indecent assault against a woman in London in 1996."We can lie to ourselves, we can forget how bad it really was," Ms Kendall said.

"It's important for people to see the scope of the pain that he created. How many people's lives were affected. And I think each of us sees ourselves in every woman that takes the stand. And it's incredibly painful."

In the wake of the #MeToo movement and Weinstein's conviction, the culture in Hollywood has improved and big studios have changed the way they control the environment, Ms Kendall said.

"I hope it's starting to tip. I hope that people are starting to realise that even the person who carries the keys to the kingdom of Hollywood - and has made some really great movies - can actually go down.

"I think that he thought he was untouchable forever. Why wouldn't he? Everyone made his behaviour excusable."

She continued: "For the most part, he (Weinstein) is a symbol that things have changed drastically, especially in big companies," Ms Kendall said.

Harvey Weinstein is already serving 23 years. Credit: AP

"There is sexual harassment training now. SAG has rules, there are intimacy coordinators on sets for people when people have sex scenes or any kind of nudity. I think that people are taking (it) very seriously."

A New York Times investigation in October 2017 revealed how the once all-powerful Hollywood mogul had spent decades abusing women. The report helped propel the #MeToo movement into the public consciousness.

Ms Kendall said she hopes victims of sexual abuse will come forward and will not, as she did, feel scared to share their stories.

"I would say, search for someone safe," she said.

"There are places now that you can go whether it's a hotline or a therapist or a best friend."

She continued: "I never knew that so many people would say 'me too'. I had no idea that there were so many people that had experienced what I experienced.

"People want to know because they want to connect with you. I think, really, that's what a big part of the Me Too movement is about."

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