Actor Terry Crews has opened up about his own experience with sexual assault in front of the U.S. Congress in support of the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights.
The American football player-turned-action star first spoke out about his own experience with sexual assault last year (17) after the launch of the #MeToo campaign prompted him to go public with claims talent agency executive Adam Venit grabbed and squeezed his genitals at a party in 2016.
Venit claimed the incident was merely a case of drunken horseplay.
The Deadpool 2 star tried to take Venit to court but his case was dismissed in March (18) as he had waited to long to file a complaint and it therefore exceeded California’s statute of limitations. However, Crews has since filed a civil lawsuit against him.
On Tuesday (26Jun18), the 49-year-old star sat in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C. to talk about the “toxic masculinity (that) permeates culture.”
“The assault lasted only minutes, but what he was effectively telling me while he held my genitals in his hand was that he held the power,” he said. “That he was in control.”
“This is how toxic masculinity permeates culture,” he continued. “As I shared my story, I was told over and over that this was not abuse. This was just a joke. This was just horseplay. But I can say one man’s horseplay is another man’s humiliation. And I chose to tell my story and share my experience to stand in solidarity with millions of other survivors around the world.
“I know how hard it is to come forward, I know the shame associated with the assault. It happened to me.”
Members of Congress were hearing testimony about the bill, which gives sexual assault survivors new rights and Crews stressed that it is important to continue to build on the protections because “anywhere where there is a power dynamic is where this problem is really rampant.”
“Hollywood definitely has been a problem area, simply because there are so many people who view this as a dream,” the actor added. “What happens is someone has power over these dreams. What also happens is you get tricked into thinking that this type of behaviour is expected, that it is part of the job, that this harassment, abuse, even rape is part of your job description.”