Harvey Weinstein’s rape victim “Jane Doe 1” went public with her name.
After being known to the world as “Jane Doe 1” for five years, one of Harvey Weinstein’s victims reveals her identity.
Her name is Evgeniya Chernyshova. The former model and actress went public in a sizzling interview with The Hollywood Reporter, published on Friday. She said Weinstein raped her in a hotel room in 2013 and reported the crime to police in 2017.
“I’m tired of hiding,” says Chernyshova, now 43. “I want my life back. I’m Evgeniya, I was raped. This is my story.”
In December, Weinstein was found guilty of three out of seven counts: rape, forced oral copulation and another count of sexual misconduct involving Chernyshova, the only one that resulted in a conviction. The jury hung on several counts, most notably charges against Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The disgraced film mogul, who maintains his innocence, was sentenced to 16 years in prison at his criminal trial in Los Angeles last week, adding to the 23 years he is already serving.
The meaning of Evgeniya Chernyshova, who shares her name
Chernyshova says she initially chose to remain anonymous after being ashamed and humiliated. She also said it was to protect her children. “But it was a terrible decision for me because I was cut off from everyone,” she explains. “It’s not right to go through this hell alone.”
Experts say most survivors never report abuse, let alone name their perpetrators. One in six women has been raped or attempted raped, according to Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, and most never file a formal complaint. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in four women has experienced sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.
“Naming the person who sexually assaulted you is a way for many survivors to reclaim their voice and power,” says Laura Palumbo, Communications director for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, told USA TODAY.
“It’s also a way for her, as the person who’s been holding on to that experience, to fully acknowledge her reality and truth. They no longer keep the secret of the person who abused them.”
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Disclosure takes time for many survivors. Many fear that if they speak publicly about the abuse, they will not be believed or will be traumatized again. Victims of sexual violence are at higher risk for developing mental health disorders, including depression and PTSD. Chernyshova said she battled depression and sometimes drank heavily.
“Imagine how difficult and psychologically damaging it is to feel like one of the most important things that ever happened to you, something that shaped you as a person and your life in so many ways, one of the most important Details about it, you can’t say it out loud,” he saidNicole Bedera, a sexual violence expert whose research focuses on campus rape.
According to experts, it is normal for survivors to share information over time that they would not have liked to share in the past.
“The decision to move forward in this bold way can reflect where that survivor is on their healing journey and what support system or resources are available to them now,” Palumbo said.
“I finally have a voice”
While Chernyshova says she still fears for her future, she admits she’s proud that she’s no longer hiding.
“Finally I have a voice and I can speak,” she says. “As much as I’ve tried to destroy myself, to punish myself, I’ll do just as much to build myself back up. And to help other people.”
Disclosure of Your Name and Public Attribution of Names is one way a survivor can reclaim some of that power and reclaim their voice in a culture that often fails to hold perpetrators accountable. Although Weinstein is serving a sentence, 975 out of 1,000 offenders are never incarcerated, according to an analysis of data from the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted bythe National Rape, Abuse and Incest Network (RAINN).
Healing from sexual trauma is different for each survivor, experts say. Not every person who has been abused needs or wants to publicly reveal their identity. But in an ideal world, they say, society would respond to survivors who name their abusers with kindness and compassion, rather than with suspicion and blame.
“Survivors deserve support whether they name their perpetrators or not,” Bedera said. “Naming a perpetrator is a difficult thing. Someone who chooses to do so may need more support than ever before at a time when they are likely to get less.”
If you have been a victim of sexual assault, RAINN offers support through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE & online.rainn.org).
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night or chat online.
Crisis Text Line offers free 24/7 confidential support when you dial 741741.