When The Letters of the Law Are FU

Linda Sharp
7 min readApr 25, 2024

As with most subjects that hit the headlines and hold our attention for a period of time (Taylor Swift +Travis Kelce, any school shooting), #MeToo had faded a bit into the background again.

For a while, the hashtag coalesced countless people whose lives had been forever altered by unwanted sexual interactions. Whether the lower end of catcalling on the street that makes every person who is on the receiving end walk faster and clutch their keys harder, or the brutal end of the spectrum where sexual assault resides, people began coming forward in droves to share their stories.

(Yes, I keep using the word people because it is not just women who are victims. While the vast majority of stories are from women, every account matters and should be heard.)

As story after story was bravely shared in person, in interviews, online, and in courtrooms, those of us who had survived and lived with our violations for decades felt less alone. Yes, there was the inevitable cadre of misogynists who downplayed and disbelieved what was being said, after all, <insert endless questions beginning with WHY>. Why wait so long? Why didn’t you report it? Why come forward now?

All of those whys answer themselves in a vicious circle of shame, fear, intimidation, and gut deep understanding that we will not be believed, and even worse, be blamed.

So watching #MeToo play out on the world stage and in courtrooms where power players were being brought to face the consequences of decades of their misdeeds and crimes was cathartic.

Bill Cosby — once everyone’s ideal “dad” was finally outed and charged and sentenced as the drugging rapist he had been for decades. (Overturned in 2021 on a technicality.)

Matt Lauer — while not judged in a court of law, society came down hard and he was ejected from his media throne where he showed one innocent face to the public each morning and another heinous molester face to countless women in his sphere behind the scenes. Look for him now.

A New York Times report in late 2018 detailed 201 famous and or powerful men who had been toppled by their own behavior and the people who came forward to out their atrocious acts and sexually criminal behaviors.

One of the most famous was Hollywood heavy hitter, Harvey Weinstein. Known publicly as the man who for decades made some of the most famous, profitable, and award winning movies as head of Miramax — think Shakespeare In Love, Pulp Fiction, The Crying Game — and even Tonys for producing Broadway shows like The Producers and Billy Elliott — Weinstein was known behind the scenes as a sinister, ass grabbing, dick flaunting sexual predator who used his power position to force women into literal positions against their will.

With allegations dating back to the 70s, by October 2017, more than 80 women had stepped out of the shadows to tell of their own intimidations, molestations, and out right rapes by this oozy Hefty bag, pockmarked, fetid, mole rat of a human being, who without money and power would never have gotten laid in a garbage can by a mole rat.

In May of 2018 he was charged with rape in New York City. He was found guilty and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He was also extradited to California where he faced additional charges, was found guilty, and sentenced to 16 years to run separately from his NYC sentence.

All of this sent a tsunami sized message to the #MeToo movement and to the world that was watching. It told all victims that they can be heard and believed. And it boldly stated that people cannot dedicate their lives to catering to their baser impulses with no chance of consequences, regardless of their power, prestige, or bank accounts.

Seeing someone like Weinstein reduced to what he is — a lowlife, disgusting rapist — was gratifying. My rapist will never be called to account. He has walked through his life unfettered by his crime, does not lose sleep or have nightmares, and will never be faced with the decades of turmoil he left in his wake. So seeing someone at Weinstein’s level fall? GOOD. FINALLY.

Sidebar: I don’t care if you find someone attractive. I don’t care if your dick gets hard at the mere sight of them. That scrap of flesh between your legs does not give you dominance over others, and it is not a gift you bring out like a bouquet of flowers. It is not a trophy we will be flattered with being offered. Your touch is not wanted simply because we smile. And if we say NO, that actually means NO. It doesn’t mean lean in harder, get more aggressive. Yes, rejection sucks, but move on. If we want your attentions, we will reciprocate with conversation, an acceptance of a date, in short, YOU WILL KNOW. Sex is great … when two people want the same thing. And until that point, back the fuck off, keep it in your pants where it belongs, and don’t commit a crime.

Fast forward to this morning.

Breaking news from the New York Times in my inbox. The New York Court of Appeals has overturned his conviction. I have no connection to him or his victims, but it felt like a gut punch nonetheless.

In a 4–3 ruling, the court found that the trial judge erred in allowing prosecutors to call as witnesses a series of women who said Mr. Weinstein had assaulted them — but whose accusations were not part of the charges against him.

From the story: Citing that decision and others it identified as errors, the appeals court determined that Mr. Weinstein, who as a movie producer had been one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, had not received a fair trial. The four judges in the majority wrote that Mr. Weinstein was not tried solely on the crimes he was charged with, but instead for much of his past behavior.

Again, what felt like a gut punch to me, I can only imagine what this news feels like to his victims.

Yes, I understand that the letter of the law must be upheld for all or it matters to none. But right now, that letter of the law, letters of the law, are a big FU.

Fuck you to the women who bravely stepped out of the shadows, sharing not only their stories but their identities.

Fuck you to the very real charges against him for which he should be incarcerated.

Fuck you to the people around the world who have suffered at the hands, mouths, genitals of those in positions of power over them.

Fuck you to every man, woman, and child watching who has been assaulted and sees this as further reinforcement of keeping silent.

My response? FUCK YOU to every Andrew Tate loving-basement dwelling incel; every CEO who views themselves as untouchable; every person who thinks this gives them back sway to touch, talk, and frighten coworkers they deem sexual targets; and every cretin online who is pouring their heinous poison out this morning because they think this exonerates Weinstein.

It doesn’t. Just as with Cosby’s overturned conviction, it doesn’t mean he didn’t commit decades of sexual crimes against myriad victims. It doesn’t mean their testimonies are invalid. It doesn’t mean that moldy, Swiss cheese looking motherfucker ever deserves to see the light of day again.

It simply means that in the scope of jurisprudence — in which rules must be followed and equally applied to all — the court fell short and screwed up. And to quote from the dissent written by Justice Madeline Singas that accused the appeals court of making it more difficult for victims to seek justice against their assailants. “Men who serially sexually exploit their power over women — especially the most vulnerable groups in society — will reap the benefit of today’s decision.”

It will now be up to the NYC prosecutors to make the decision on retrying him.

In the meantime, while he may be temporarily relieved of the NYC sentence, he is not free from the California sentence. He will now be sent there to serve out that 16 year sentence for rape.

I encourage people to continue sharing their stories if only to feel less alone in what they have endured. You matter. What happened to you matters, and while it will never go away, it will always be chained to your whole being — I know that part all too well — understand that every day you pull yourself up and out and get on with daily life, know that you are strong, brave, and surviving.

Let’s just hope the California court had all its Ps and Qs in order so that another FU is not forthcoming.



Linda Sharp

Author, columnist, blogger. Don’t Get Me Started and Transparent Trans Parent blogs