Recently, news broke that Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed, sexually assaulted and raped several women. Some have resorted to victim blaming, such as Donna Karan, who insinuated that victims were asking for trouble. These shocking statistics pertaining to sexualized assault and rape can be partially attributed to those who engage in victim blaming.
- Out of every 1,000 rapes that occur, 994 will walk free
- Out of every 1,000 sexualized assaults committed, only 344 are reported (2 out of every 3 go unreported)
Why are people afraid to report a crime committed against them? For victims of sexualized violence, it can be a multitude of reasons such as:
- Fear of retaliation
- Fear of law enforcement doing little to nothing
- Not being believed or heard
Terry Crews, American actor and former NFL player, broke his silence recently regarding his history of sexualized abuse by a “high level Hollywood executive.” Recent news regarding Harvey Weinstein prompted Crews to share his story. Crews reports “this whole thing with Harvey Weinstein is giving me PTSD. Why? Because this kind of thing happened to ME.” Why did Crews decide to come out after news was released about Harvey Weinstein?
Crews reported that a male, Hollywood executive groped his genitals and “grinned like a jerk.” Crews also stated that this unnamed male’s wife was present while the unnamed male groped Crews. Crews wanted to retaliate but didn’t as he feared he would be arrested and put in jail. Crews says “‘240 lbs. Black Man stomps out Hollywood Honcho’ would be the headline the next day.” The sexualized abuse experienced by Crews was in 2016.
Crews provides insight into why sexualized assault victims may not come forward about it. He understands why so many victims don’t come forward because he is in a similar situation. “I let it go. And I understand why many women who this happens to let it go,” and proceeds to asking himself the following questions:
- “Who’s going to believe you?” Few.
- “What are the repercussions?” Many.
- “Do you want 2 work again?” Yes.
- “Are you prepared to be ostracized?” No.
It’s almost as if Crews is making a pros and cons list in his head to help make the decision to report the sexualized abuse or assault or stay silent. There shouldn’t be this amount of thought and pressure on victims of sexualized abuse or sexualized assault. Victims should feel safe in reporting sexualized violent crimes to proper authorities.
Victims of sexualized violence may have additional worries depending on the power imbalance between the victim and perpetrator such as losing their job, being denied a promotion, threats to victim and/or their children and so forth. The victims of Harvey Weinstein feared their careers and not advancing in their roles, which isn’t surprising seeing as Weinstein had power and fame.
Crews broke his silence for a reason. He stated that he broke his silence in hopes that his story will “deter a predator and encourage someone who feels hopeless.”
I want to personally thank Crews for being a voice for those who have been silenced or feel they have no choice other than to keep quiet. It takes a lot of courage and bravery in a society with such emphasis on gender norms and breaking his silence is absolutely admirable.
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