Posted by Vaishali Bhargav
In November 2017, Terry Crews, former NFL player and actor came out with claims of sexual harassment against William Morris Endeavor Adam Venit. Crews claims that he was groped by Venit, in front of his wife, at an industry event. Since then Crews has been vocal about sexual harassment and the need for men to hold other men accountable for such actions when the time comes. Even though Crews received support from the industry and public at large, a part of the industry and public, doubted his allegations and questioned the genuineness of the situation.
Adam Venit as of now has not been charged for the said groping. On June 26, 2018, Terry Crews appeared in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about the assault and to advocate for the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights. His statement was met with praises and support, however a few, like American rapper 50 Cent, made fun of him and questioned why Crews didn’t fight back.
The assault against Crews shows us that anyone could be a victim of sexual assault. The narrative that only women or physically weak men experience assault is proven wrong in this case. Crews knew that if he used his physical strength in that situation, he would be seen as a violent black man, would’ve been imprisoned for physical assault and could’ve faced multiple charges. Terry Crews has been ridiculed and taunted by men who don’t understand the larger issue of racial discrimination and are incapable of looking beyond a fight that could possibly put the life of the black man in life threatening danger. The taunting and ridiculing by other men is the result of toxic masculinity, something that is present so densely in our society that it takes away the basic nature of humanity away from us.
Also read: 11 Ways How Toxic Masculinity Hurts Men
Crews believes that stopping victim blaming is the first step in alleviating the toxic culture that surrounds sexual abuse, harassment and assault victims. Crews recently opted out of Expendables 4 as he was asked by a producer to drop his case if he wished to be in the fourth instalment.
Often, we see men call out the lack of attention given to male victims of sexual assault when movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up are being discussed. However, it wasn’t surprising to see that the same men who called for attention toward male victims failed to support Terry Crews in his fight for justice. When a male survivor comes out with his story, he is supposed to be supported and not questioned or ridiculed about the nature of the assault. It was notable to see that while a good amount of men shamed and mocked Terry Crews, women and sexual assault survivors stood by him. Terry Crews’ fight shows us how important and necessary it is for us to hold, not only predators accountable but also the people and the culture that supports them.
In 2007, the Indian Government carried out a research for sexual abuse of children. 53.2% of children reported having experienced some form of sexual abuse. 52.9% of those, were boys. A recent online survey of 160 men showed that 71% of participants had been sexually abused as children. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code does not include male as rape victims which is just a further depiction of the patriarchal thinking and toxic masculinity present in our country.
The culture and mindset surrounding male survivors will have to change if we wish to bring forth a change in the system and society and provide a safe environment for male survivors. Terry Crews’ fight has brought light to this like never before and it’s important that this conversation continues in a healthy manner and gives voice to other male victims who wouldn’t have come out with their story before.
Vaishali Bhargav is a future pet lady who just wants equal rights and clear skin for now.
Featured Image Source: IndieWire