Evgeniya Chernyshova landed her first modeling contract when she was 15, and her first movie role in 2009. The world was opening to the young model from Siberia. By 2013, she was married with young children, embarking on a new and exciting life.
And then Harvey Weinstein raped her, and everything changed.
You may think you have heard this kind of tale before – a young, beautiful woman being assaulted by a rich and powerful man. But this story is different, because thanks to Evgeniya Chernyshova, Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, and penetration by a foreign object. Because of her, he will almost certainly die behind bars.
This is a story of justice served.
“I’m Tired of Hiding”
Evgeniya Chernyshova reported her rape to police in 2017, after her daughter (who was in high school at the time) told Evgeniya that she had been sexually assaulted. So, mother and daughter made a pact: Evgeniya would report her rape if her daughter agreed to do the same. She came to us to tell her story, and we were with her when she went to the police to report it.
Until the jury made its decision, she was known only as “Jane Doe 1.” As told by the Hollywood Reporter:
Over a long, often tearful interview in the Manhattan Beach office of her attorney, Chernyshova spoke about her violent encounter with Weinstein, her decision to come forward at the urging of her daughter and the lonely experience of being a Jane Doe, which she says prevented her from connecting with other victims and being open with friends and acquaintances about what she was living through. “I did it because I was ashamed and humiliated,” Chernyshova says of remaining anonymous. “I thought it was a good decision to protect my kids. But it was a horrible decision for myself because I’ve been cut off from everyone. It isn’t right to go through this hell alone.”
After 10 years of anonymity, Evgeniya has come out of the shadows and introduced herself to the world. “I finally have a voice and I can speak,” she told the Hollywood Reporter. “I see my future as beautiful. It’s a good one.”
Evgeniya was the only survivor who was allowed to give a victim statement at Weinstein’s sentencing.
Why the world should know Evgeniya Chernyshova’s name
When something terrible happens – a rape, a murder, a mass killing, a train derailment – the parties’ names are plastered all over the headlines. When the perpetrator is famous, the scrutiny becomes even stronger.
But the victims themselves are also placed under a lens. It’s one of the reasons why we keep the names of sexual assault and rape survivors private: they have already experienced a trauma that will affect them for the rest of their lives. They deserve a chance to tell the truth and a chance for a new beginning.
More than 127 women have accused Harvey Weinstein of rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and harassment. Only a handful were involved in criminal lawsuits against him.
Evgeniya spent 10 long years feeling shame, anger, helplessness, isolation, and fear. Her experience cost her a husband and a career. It took her sense of self. From her witness statement:
I had fallen apart…. I was punishing myself for what he did to me. I felt worthless, humiliated. I thought that — I did something wrong because he chose me that night – that I must be a bad person if something this awful could happen to me.
I didn’t want to touch my children over how dirty I felt.
I no longer felt safe.
I distanced myself from the industry I loved.
I soon became invisible to myself and to the world. I lost my identity.
I thought that no one could or should love me. I was heartbroken, empty, and alone.
She lives with this every single day, and every single day she wakes up and puts one foot in front of the other, going about her new life as best she can.
Evgeniya Chernyshova’s case is the only one of four in California that led to a conviction. She took on a monster and she won. She has proven to the world that justice can and will be served, no matter who the predator is.
The world should know her name.
“I believe all of the victims who testified,” Chernyshova told the Hollywood Reporter. “All of them. And I want to say this — this is not only my victory, this is our victory.”
Taylor & Ring is proud to have stood beside Evgeniya in her fight for justice. To speak with an attorney from Taylor & Ring, please call us or fill out our contact form. The initial consultation is free, all consultations are confidential, and we will make whatever accommodations you need to feel safe and secure. When you need an advocate, we are here.
David Ring is a nationally renowned plaintiff’s personal injury trial attorney and has obtained multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of seriously-injured individuals or families who have lost a loved one in a tragic accident. For more than 20 years, he has represented victims of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, assault, molestation and sexual misconduct in cases against a variety of employers and entities, including schools, churches and youth organizations.
He prides himself on providing aggressive, yet compassionate representation for children who have been sexually abused and women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted. Read more about David M. Ring.