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This is why Georgina Chapman doesn’t want to be seen as a victim

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Kayleigh Dray
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Georgina Chapman, the estranged wife of Harvey Weinstein, has given her first interview since their split.

Some seven months after the New York Times published a story detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein, his estranged wife, Georgina Chapman, has sat down and given her first interview.

To date, more than 100 women have accused the Weinstein of sexual assault and misconduct. Thirteen of these women – including Rose McGowan and Asia Argento – have accused him of rape. And reports have also alleged that a number of actresses – including Felicity Huffman, Jessica Chastain and Sienna Miller – were pressured into wearing designs from Marchesa, Chapman’s once-popular fashion label, with Weinstein threatening to end their careers if they did not support his wife.

“[Weinstein] was the mastermind behind Marchesa, orchestrating deals and using his influence in terms of the celebrity connections for [Chapman] on behalf of the brand,” a publicist explained to The Hollywood Reporter.

As such, Marchesa has been noticeably absent from all major red carpet events this year. In fact, Scarlett Johansson is the first celebrity to wear the label since the Weinstein scandal first broke – a Met Gala decision which has seen the actress openly criticised as being “thoughtless” and “problematic”.

Chapman, similarly, has been accused of being complicit in her husband’s crimes – a claim which she has strongly refuted in her new interview with Vogue

Pointing out that women are betrayed by their husbands every single day, she recalls: “I lost ten pounds in five days [when the accusations were first made public]. I couldn’t keep food down.”

All in all, it took Chapman “about two days” to process the fact that her husband was a sexual predator.

“My head was spinning. And it was difficult because the first article was about a time long before I’d ever met him, so there was a minute where I couldn’t make an informed decision,” she shares. “And then the stories expanded and I realised that this wasn’t an isolated incident. And I knew that I needed to step away and take the kids out of here.”

Since then, the “humiliated and broken” fashion designer has withdrawn from the public eye. “I didn’t think it was respectful to go out,” she admits. “I thought, ‘Who am I to be parading around with all of this going on?’”

However, Chapman has made moves to help herself through this difficult period in her life – and has been attending regular therapy sessions.

“At first I couldn’t, because I was too shocked,” she says. “And I somehow felt that I didn’t deserve it. And then I realised: This has happened. I have to own it. I have to move forward…

“I have moments of rage, I have moments of confusion, I have moments of disbelief! And I have moments when I just cry for my children. What are their lives going to be? What are people going to say to them?”

Despite all of this, though, Chapman refuses to be described as another of Weinstein’s victims.

“I don’t want to be viewed as a victim,” she says, “because I don’t think I am. I am a woman in a s**t situation, but it’s not unique.”

Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman

Georgina Chapman poses on the red carpet with Harvey Weinstein

It’s unsurprising that Chapman has experienced extreme psychological upheaval after learning of Weinstein’s crimes. Indeed, clinical psychologist Naomi Murphy, who works within the dangerous and severe personality disorder service at HMP Whitemoor, explains to stylist.co.uk: “Hearing that one’s partner has behaved in a sexually predatory manner doesn’t only mean coping with them causing harm to another, it also means coping with the partner’s betrayal of the tacit agreement to be sexually exclusive that most couples form. That in itself is a huge blow to come to terms with.

“It is normal for those who have been cheated upon to feel a sense of shame and humiliation, to wonder who knew what and to feel as if everyone else has known this and been laughing at them. When the sexual betrayal is associated with abusiveness and discovered so publicly and so visibly it inevitably amplifies the shame and humiliation that the person betrayed will experience.”

She continues: “Learning that these sexual encounters were unsolicited, coercive and abusive adds a further level of shame. Within our society, sexual offending is considered to be the most contemptible form of offending, and association with someone who has behaved in such a way can leave a partner or loved one experiencing feelings of ‘guilt by association’ or stigma.

“It is nonsense to hold the loved one to account and yet some members of our society do choose to focus their hate for a perpetrator and his actions on his loved ones. So it is not unusual for his loved ones to be on the receiving end of death threats, dog excrement through the letterbox and so on, to some degree reinforcing and amplifying their feelings of guilt and sense of shame.”

However, Chapman – and others who find themselves in a similarly distressing situation – should never be blamed for the actions of their partners.

“In any situation where there is a perpetrator, it is the perpetrator that is to blame and accountable for his or her actions,” says Murphy.

To find out more about what to do if the person you love does something morally reprehensible, visit our advice page here. Otherwise, Murphy suggests seeking professional support, either via a referral from your GP or a private therapist (registered with either HCPC or BACP), to enable you to figure out the best course of action for you.

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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