"Bombshell, indeed," Montreal actress Erika Rosenbaum said of the New York Court of Appeals decision throwing out the conviction of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Rosenbaum is among the Silence Breakers, a group of women who came forward after allegations of sexual assault and harassment first surfaced against Weinstein in 2017.

"It is a profoundly discouraging development but not a surprising one, unfortunately," she says. "The legal system as it is, is just not built to convict and so survivors go out on a limb and tell their stories and re-traumatize themselves for the sake of these trials, and then something like this happens. It will certainly cost a great deal to tell those stories all over again."

The Montreal native was in her twenties, dreaming of landing a big role, and going back and forth between her home and Hollywood auditions, when she met Weinstein at a party in Los Angeles knowing he was the man many called the "star maker."

In 2017, she broke her silence, detailing three separate incidents during encounters with Weinstein.

She says the ruling is "unfortunate" because many of the women who stepped forward were willing to stand up in court, despite the re-traumatization inflicted by revisiting these moments, because they wanted to create change and do the right thing.

"I was willing to share my story to lend to the predatory story that this particular character has proven," she says. "It is very hard to understand why we were asked to do that by lawyers, and the trial judge allowed it, and now this is the thing that is allowing this particular accusation to be overturned, it is very disconcerting."

New York's top court ruled the judge should not have allowed the testimonies of women whose allegations were not part of the charges against him.

Women's groups say the decision highlights the limitations of the legal system that survivors can experience. The Canadian Women's Foundation says about 30 per cent of women and girls over the age of 15 in this country have experienced sexual violence at least once in their lifetime.

"I think they are going to feel quite concerned today," says Andrea Gunraj, vice-president of public engagement with the foundation. "They may be feeling re-traumatized, they may be feeling they may not be listened to if they report."

Still, Gunraj adds, there have been improvements in the years since the #MeToo movement went global as legal procedures against Weinstein got underway. "In 2017, survivors all around the world said #MeToo, and it opened a door on understanding sexual violence not just in entertainment but also in the workplace, in schools, in sports."

Rosenbaum says today's ruling will not deter her from sharing her story.

"I will continue to speak to anyone who will listen," she says. "I speak to women's groups, I speak to young people, and I will try to help others for the rest of my career, because the one thing I can do with my truth is to help people stand up for themselves."

Weinstein is not a free man. He is set to serve a separate 16-year sentence on a rape conviction in California.

"He is behind bars where he belongs, because he is a criminal," Rosenbaum says.

With files from The Associated Press