One of the first women to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault says his conviction has come as a “shock” to her.
Zoë Brock, a New Zealand model, actor and writer, is one of dozens of women to take a civil law suit against Weinstein. Along with other accusers, she was offered a settlement by Weinstein’s lawyers last year, but says she is yet to accept the money and wants to pursue further legal action against him.
She said news that the movie mogul had been convicted of two of the five charges brought against him in a New York court caused her to cry and laugh as she tried to process her turbulent emotions after years of fighting for a conviction.
“I wasn’t prepared for a conviction. Historically, men in his position, with his amount of money and lawyers, who victim-blame and victim-shame women on the stand, historically these bastards get off.
“Not only do they get off, they then make a comeback. And show up at the Oscars in a couple of years. So I was absolutely prepared for the worst,” she said.
It shows them, the predators, that women can speak up, and can be believed
The jury of seven men and five women at the New York supreme court took five days to reach their verdict. They found the defendant guilty of a criminal sex act in the first degree for forcing oral sex on the former Project Runway production assistant Miriam Haley in 2006.
The count carries a minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum of up to 25 years.
The jury also convicted Weinstein of rape in the third degree. This relates to another woman the Guardian has not named – because it is unclear if she is happy to be identified – in a New York hotel in 2013. This count carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison and no minimum, though it requires Weinstein to register as a sex offender.
Brock said the jury was “incredibly brave and insightful, I am indebted to them forever” and Weinstein’s conviction will have global implications for predators of both sexes.
“It’s an enormous victory. It shows them, the predators, that women can speak up, and can be believed. It shows them that if they victim-shame and victim-blame like Harvey’s lawyer did that it’s not going to work well for them any more.
“It shows the whole world now, that a jury can understand that you can be in a consensual relationship with someone, and still be raped.
“That you can go for an audition in a hotel room or a restaurant or anywhere, and be raped, regardless of what you’re wearing. That this was not transactional. That Harvey Weinstein was not the victim. And I think that sends a very big message. Predators of both sexes should be watching out, and I hope this really emboldens more victims to come forward.”
Weinstein’s lawyer said he would appeal against the convictions, which Brock says would be a “fresh hell” for her to endure.
The case, Brock said, has had a massive impact on her wellbeing and sense of security, and she said she was traumatised every time she was asked to speak about her experience with Weinstein.
“I’m tired. I don’t know how to relax any more. I’m in permanent fight mode. I am like a video game just turned on to fight mode. And I would really like that to end,” Brock said.
“Now that Harvey has been convicted, I don’t know what the appeal will bring, but I don’t need to watch out for Black Cube any more, or worry that my phones are tapped, – I think that is some respite.
Brock said she wants people who helped shield Weinstein also held accountable, but first she plans “a little rest for a while”.
“I don’t know how to self-care, I need to relearn that. I know how to survive and I know how to fight. But I have to relearn how to be soft after this.”