Back in September 2019, when I had first read about a ‘Rowena Chiu’ who had come out publicly to recount for the first time Harvey Weinstein’s attempt to sexually assault her, I immediately instant messaged my friend Rowena the article I had just read – not realizing that this ‘Rowena Chiu’ was her. When she told me that it was her – I was in shock.
I had just seen Rowena at her kid’s birthday party a few days prior to her breaking the news. She mentioned she was going to be taking a mini-vacation to New York City. Little did I know, her real reason to go was to go on the Today Show to speak about her assault:
To read about her also in the New York Times and numerous other publications, I realized how truly big this story is, and it really hit me.
I had the opportunity to speak with Rowena recently (prior to Weinstein’s guilty verdict) to get some more of her thoughts on Weinstein. She also talked about her struggles, mental health, the intersectionality of race, class, and gender regarding the issue of sexual assault, and her experiences from an “Asian American” female’s perspective – all of which she wanted to articulate to the Asian American community (note that Rowena is a U.S. permanent resident, originally from the U.K.). These are all difficult issues, some of which I found very hard to ask about.