What a sump hole the Harvey Weinstein scandal has opened up - as if the Hollywood casting couch hadn't been an ongoing cartoon "joke" in men's mags from the year dot.

The image of a portly, moustachioed old movie mogul preparing to pounce on a vacuous starlet was deemed to be laugh-out-loud funny for decades.

They weren't funny, these cartoons, but they were true, as humour always is on some level; a sly form of aggression, putting women in their place, describing the male-dominated world we have to negotiate while hopefully holding on to some sense of self-worth.

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Alongside such "humour" there was a legend, promoted by men like Hugh Hefner, that you were "frigid" if you didn't join in the fun, that it was flattering to be molested by strangers.

It sickens me that when I was molested at 13 I was told by that person that I "should be proud". Proud of what? I took on board, as women/girls do in these situations, that it was my fault this bewildering thing had happened. Proud? Very far from it.

I learned later, from older girls, that he was notorious. It always comes out later, too late for other women. That has to stop.

It's good that Hefner is dead, one less flag waver for the demeaning of women. And it's good that Weinstein is facing the consequences of his gross behaviour. Plainly it was a habit for him, not a sickness, which is where Woody Allen, who's had his own problems, would like to park it. You can't help getting sick, but you can control the way you behave.

Complicated feelings surround these experiences. We make excuses for the men, and blame ourselves. We should have screamed, or fought them, or run away, or known in advance, through psychic gifts, what we were in for and not gone anywhere with them. That would have been good.

We feel betrayed because we thought these people actually liked us, or we thought - because we found them unattractive - they were harmless. And above all we feel shame, which is corrosive.

It's confusing when the person is someone you look up, like, or depend on. You admire their track record, say, which in Weinstein's case is impressive. What does your experience count for against his string of Oscars? Is this how insignificant you really are? Who'd believe you anyway? You don't know that this is what they do all the time, that you're not even unique.

For a second I winced for Weinstein when this past week he was kicked out of the professional organisations he belonged to, when British politicians talked about taking back his CBE, and the French President said he intends to strip him of his Legion D'Honneur.

Weinstein earned his successes, but we've lately come to see that private evil is inseparable from public success, and to a large extent negates it.

Many blameless people worked on his movies, so it would be unfair to boycott them, but they will always be contaminated, which is doubly unfair to the skilled people who made them happen.

I don't know how far we can go with the unceasing stream of exposures of prominent men before the tide turns against women's justified anger, because this will be just the start.

It's been a long time coming. The justice system was traditionally stacked against us if we laid charges. Our characters could be dragged through the mud as part of a legal defence, an intolerable injustice, but women still face many hurdles holding their attackers to account.

First among them is ourselves, the shame that never quite goes away, and the uneasy relationship you have with your own body afterwards. If your body is treated as a mere, grabbable thing, what are you? Do you matter? And think: do you really want to give evidence in open court about details that are sickening to recall?

This week Amazon TV chief Roy Price took indefinite leave of absence over sex allegations against him, and a headline act for an event at Mangawhai over the summer has been cancelled after two American women claimed they were drugged and raped by the performer in 2013.

But there was a worrying sign in the other direction this month when Dominique Strauss-Kahn, once tipped as a possible future French President, appeared on a lecture podium alongside President Emmanuel Macron and his predecessor, Francois Hollande.

This is the self-styled libertine who famously sexually attacked a New York hotel maid, and settled with her out of court, before being accused of organising orgies. The French must have strong stomachs when it comes to sleaze.