On Tuesday, Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Terry Crews, who also stars in the upcoming Boots Riley film Sorry To Bother You, went before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee to champion the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights. It’s aimed at protecting the rights of sexual assault victims, as well as providing subsidies to ensure the proper storage of rape kits and other forensic testing in all 50 states.
This past year we have seen powerful men in Hollywood and elsewhere finally held accountable for sexual assault, Crews said in his opening statement. We also saw the backlash survivors faced coming forward. I wanted these survivors to know that I believed them, I supported them, and that this happened to me too.
I heard time and time again about the rights that my predator had, but I was never told about the rights I had as a survivor. That was the wake-up call. I knew I had to be part of what was happening here today in regard to the Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights. If you know what you can do, you can actually do something about it.
WATCH – @terrycrews full opening statement: “I am honored to use my platform and story to help create additional civil rights protections for survivors across the nation under the Sexual Assault #SurvivorsBillofRights.” Full video here: https://t.co/RGjyB1WSAm https://t.co/ezi14zs3mY
Crews alleged that he was assaulted at a party two years ago by the head of the motion picture department of the agency he worked with at the time. He said the individual grabbed his genitals twice in front of his wife.
As a black man in America, he said, you only have a few shots at success, you only have a few chances to make yourself a viable member of the community. Im from Flint, Michigan. I have seen many young black men who were provoked into violence: They were in prison or they were killed. Theyre not here.
There’s is a great deal to be said about restraining oneself, especially for a black man in Hollywood. Couple that with how Crews has been repeatedly lambasted by other famous black men, some of whom have a very shady record as far as sexual assault and gender sensitivity are concerned, and it’s easy to see how his undertaking a mission of this importance takes a great deal of courage.
Power tripping is as American as apple pie, and at least as old as western civilization itself. Sexual assault is all about power.
Whenever it is mentioned, a dynamic of male against female automatically comes to mind. However, sexual assault can be perpetrated by any gender, against any gender. The individual who is alleged to have assaulted Terry Crews was a gay white man.
Can you imagine hearing about Terry Crews being arrested for assault as a former NFL player pummelling a gay guy in Hollywood? It would have been painted as an anti-gay example of toxic black masculinity. I’d bet my Air Spikes on it. So, yeah, Terry Crews is taking mad hits, as he likely expected. But I’m hoping he’s the first of a long line of dudes that are willing to put themselves on the line to call out sexual assault.