When the news broke that Harvey Weinstein would be surrendering himself on rape and sexual assault charges, I didn’t have a reaction. As I spoke with others for whom the ground was shaking I realized my feeling was that a sexual predator being legally accountable for criminal behavior is and should be normal, routine and not particularly newsworthy. And I also understood why it is thunderous news.
In fact, both reactions ring true. The criminal justice system should function efficiently and swiftly, apprehending and punishing any and all sexual predators, whatever their social status and power quotient. And in this moment, in this era, that a powerful man who thrived and flourished in a culture of impunity was arrested and charged is resoundingly significant. It is a watershed event, an irreversible pivot away from tacit and explicit license to exploit to a ground of firmer boundaries and clarity about intolerable behavior no longer being tolerated.