Weinstein Prosecutors Prime Jurors on Victim Behavior

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As prosecutors began calling to testify five women who have alleged sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein, they have primed jurors to set aside preconceived notions about how sexual-assault victims might behave after an attack, the Wall Street Journal reports. Miriam Haley, a former film-production assistant, gave tearful testimony Monday that the Hollywood producer forced oral sex on her in 2006. In later years, Haley neither cut ties with Weinstein nor filed a police report, while reaching out to him many times. Haley, who recently changed her name from Haleyi, recounted the night in July 2006 when she says Weinstein “held me down on the bed and he forced himself on me orally … I’m being raped,” she recalled thinking.

Weinstein’s defense team has tried to use Haley’s behavior after the alleged assault to undermine her contention that the encounter wasn’t consensual. Most, of the five women who have yet to testify exchanged friendly or even loving emails with the movie producer after their alleged assaults by him. Weinstein denies having any nonconsensual sexual encounters. Prosecutors called a forensic psychiatrist to establish that the behavior of Haley and other accusers wasn’t unusual. Barbara Ziv, a Temple University professor, described commonly held misconceptions about sexual-assault victims. “It is the norm” for victims to stay in touch with attackers, she said. “Contact can range from text messages and email exchanges to continuing in a relationship with them or developing a relationship even if one did not exist before.” Dr. Ziv said most victims think they can either put the assault behind them or don’t want it to affect their reputation, friendships or career. Most such victims, she said, don’t report promptly.

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