RISE hosts sexual assault survivor Rowena Chiu to spread awareness about sexual violence
RISE hosts sexual assault survivor Rowena Chiu to spread awareness about sexual violence
Dhruv Shetty

RISE hosts sexual assault survivor Rowena Chiu to spread awareness about sexual violence

Rowena Chiu, a former assistant to movie producer Harvey Weinstein, spoke at the Haymarket Theater on Thursday regarding her experience alleging her boss of sexual assault in an event hosted by the Response Inclusive Safe Environment Club. 

Chiu’s talk included her first experience working with Weinstein, her legal battles as she began telling her story and the aftermath of her efforts.

Chiu said she was pleased with the variety of attendees for her talk.

“I was happy to see so many students and community members in the room,” Chiu said. “It was nice to see equal representation from both grown-ups and Paly students.”

Denise Johnsen, a Gunn parent, said Chiu’s talk was empowering.

“Rowena is an incredible speaker, and she’s just so inspiring,” Johnsen said. “It’s inspiring to kids everywhere to tell their stories and speak up.”

Senior Bella Nguyen, the co-president of RISE, said Chiu’s story made a lasting impact on the audience.

“She instilled a sense of confidence and power within the young people here today,” Nguyen said. “I’m excited for them to take those lessons for the rest of high school, college and their future.”

Ohlone kindergarten teacher Nancy Shorum said she was impressed by RISE’s initiative in organizing the event.

“Listening to the high school students who are with RISE was very inspiring,” Shorum said. “The phenomenal work that is happening at the high school level was very eye opening.”

Weinstein was convicted in 2020 for felony sex crime charges, however this ruling was overturned on Thursday by the New York Court of Appeals. While his 2022 conviction in California for raping a woman still stands, Weinstein plans to appeal the decision as well.

Chiu said this momentous decision altered her initial speech.

“(The reversal) really colored both what I said on stage and the feeling in the room,” Chiu said.

Nguyen said despite the overturning of Weinstein’s conviction, Chiu’s experiences still inspired the community to stand up for injustices.

“There’s always going to be people around you to help and support you,” Nguyen said. “If you feel uncomfortable and unsafe, it is always the right thing to do to speak out and make sure you get the justice you deserve.”

Chiu said she hopes to motivate students to help others and become more involved in their community.

“Stand up for those who are oppressed, be an upstander, not a bystander,” Chiu said. “Don’t be afraid to get up and make change.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Campanile
$100
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Palo Alto High School's newspaper

More to Discover
Donate to The Campanile
$100
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Campanile Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *