An aspiring actress from Long Island is speaking out after she was among the half dozen women who testified against Harvey Weinstein at the movie producer’s recent rape trial in Manhattan court.
Taralê Wulff, who testified against Weinstein in January, published an open letter in which she reflects on her experience ahead of Weinstein’s sentencing Wednesday. She was one of four women who testified to show a pattern of behavior, but since charges in the case stemmed from two other women and not her ordeal, she is barred from giving a victim impact statement in court. So Wulff said she published an essay because she believes it is important that her voice be heard.
“Harvey Weinstein stole a part of my self-worth, treating me like I was nothing and I became fearful and mistrustful, not only of others but of myself,” Wulff wrote in an essay published Tuesday. “These feelings were unbearable to live with and I pushed back the fear, shame and guilt to move on with my life. That is how I survive.”
A jury convicted Weinstein last month of third-degree rape and criminal sexual act but acquitted him of predatory sexual assault. Wulff is one of about 100 women who’ve alleged that Weinstein sexually abused or raped them. His case was the catalyst of the #MeToo movement in which women increasingly began coming forward two years ago with allegations against men who used their positions of power as leverage over women who they sexually abused or raped.
“I was okay (or so I thought) until I read about brave women speaking out with stories just like mine,” Wulff wrote. “The heartbreak of shame and guilt came flooding back. I knew what those women felt and I wanted to help them. I had to.”
Wulff met Weinstein in 2005 when Wulff was a waitress at Cipriani Upstairs in Manhattan, where he allegedly masturbated in front of her after pulling her onto a rooftop terrace. She testified that Weinstein raped her at the disgraced movie mogul’s apartment, where she went hoping to get hired.
His attorneys maintain that his sexual relations were all consensual and have indicated that they plan to appeal the conviction. He also faces similar charges in Los Angeles. Weinstein faces up to 25 years in prison when sentenced by Judge James Burke.
“My hope is that Judge Burke will hold Weinstein accountable by imposing a prison sentence that reflects what he has done to us and knowing that whatever sentence he renders, it will never undo what has happened,” Wulff wrote. “I hope that the sentence sends a clear message that times have changed and that more women need to speak out for themselves and that men and women need to speak out for others.”