The litany of sexual harassment allegations against Harry Weinstein has dominated the news for days now, and it will for many more.

He is a twisted, brute of a man who used his size, and his enormous power and influence in the movie industry, to exploit women - and always vulnerable women.

He shamed them, left them feeling in someway responsible for his grotesque advances, and they feared him and his extraordinary influence. And all of those factors brought Weinstein what he wanted - their silence. That's how he managed to do what he has done for the best part of 30 years. He is the master manipulator. His sense of entitlement is remarkable, borne from an industry that lauds men - and it is largely men - who produce blockbuster after blockbuster. Weinstein is king. He can make or break a career in an instant.

Many have poured scorn on the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie for not speaking out earlier. They enabled him, people say, by staying silent. But those who truly believe that don't understand the psychology that shapes the mind of a serial sexual predator. Paltrow was just 22 when Weinstein targeted her. A kid. She was a young actress, not the strong, confident, financially-stable super star she is now. And Jolie was the same. He targeted her in the early 90s, and she fled - and never worked for him again.

Weinstein was then, as he was until now, the most powerful man in the industry, hugely influential in both New York and California. If either woman had spoken out, their careers would have been over, irrespective of how talented they were. So what does a woman do when she finds herself in that situation? She stays silent. She doesn't talk to anyone. But she vows never to put herself in that situation again.

Weinstein picked his victims. He never targeted a big star in her prime. The likes of Judi Dench and Meryl Streep said they had no idea. It was always young actresses. And that's the modus operandi of a sexual predator. They find the chink in a woman's armour. Maybe she needs work. Maybe she's in the midst of a personal crisis. Or depressed. Perhaps she's young. New to the workforce. Or her marriage or relationship may be in trouble. She could be drunk. Or desperate for a career break. Whatever the case, she's in a vulnerable space in her life. And then boom. They strike.

I've seen it myself. Not at a criminal level - but I believe many women of my generation and the millennial generation will know a Harry Weinstein. A man who exploits his position to take advantage of women for his own sexual gratification. Sometimes they're successful. Sometimes they're not. But they follow the same pattern of behaviour every time. They are in a position of leadership, advocacy or influence and they stand like a road block between the woman, and her personal or professional development.

Advertisement

And yet still, we point the finger at the women - at the likes of Paltrow and Jolie for not speaking out sooner - and what is truly tragic is the number of women among their critics. The allegations against Weinstein are grotesque. He lunged at women, exposed himself to them, masturbated in front of them, grabbed their hands or their heads and forced them to his crotch, and there are allegations of rape too.

Why is it we blame the women? And do their critics not realise that by doing so, they help to enable the Harry Weinstein's of the world?

Is this a watershed moment for Hollywood and the film industry? It should be. It has to be. Weinstein has bullied, harassed, coerced and manipulated his way through Hollywood and the film industry for the best part of three decades. His employers are culpable. Given the choice between protecting actresses and protecting Weinstein, they chose the latter. If a rumour emerged they didn't dig deeper. Instead, they shut it down. Damage control. Protect the hero.

He's not a hero anymore. Weinstein is their very public disgrace. It has to stop here, many actresses say. But will it? I hope so. Surely this has to be one of the most defining moments in the history of Hollywood.