On Tuesday, Terry Crews testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, retelling the story of his 2017 sexual assault, and offering some thoughts on how toxic masculinity plays a role in discrediting sexual assault survivors who come forward.
“This past year, we have seen powerful men in Hollywood and elsewhere finally held accountable for sexual harassment and assault,” the actor said in his opening statement. “We also saw the backlash survivors face coming forward. I want to let survivors know that I believe them, I support them, and that this happened to me, too.”
Crews retold his account of his alleged sexual assault by agent Adam Venit, whom he filed a lawsuit against last year. (The lawsuit was ultimately rejected.) Per Variety:
Crews told the committee, “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. That he was in control.”
He added, “This is how toxic masculinity permeates culture. 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.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee was hearing arguments for The Sexual Assault Bill of Rights. Amanda Nguyen, an activist who helped to draft the bill, who also testified on Tuesday, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday.