Actor Terry Crews shared his #MeToo moment with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and testified for a hearing on the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights about his damaging sexual assault experience in Hollywood at the hands of a powerful agent, reports Variety.
“The assault lasted only minutes,” Crews told the committee, “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.”
Crews was recounting a 2016 experience where he says WME partner Adam Venit grabbed his genitals and groped him. Crews, who has filed a lawsuit against Venit, didn’t name him during his testimony but said the incident happened at a party.
“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. That I know how hard it is to come forward, I know the shame associated with the assault. It happened to me.”
The Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, “gives survivors the right to have time to distance themselves from the immediate trauma before making the difficult decision to report the assault to law enforcement.”
Crews also made mention of his traumatic background growing up.
He said he “watched as my father violently abused my mother, using his power and authority to dominate her. All I could think was how I wanted to protect her. How, if I get strong, I can protect her from this living nightmare.”
“This thought transformed the type of man I became. I swore I would never be like my father and yet I believed, to my core, that as a man, I was more valuable in this world. As a protector and symbol of strength, I was more worthy. That women were beneath me.”
Crews who has admitted that he was addicted to porn said he “used images of women’s body and pornography at my disposal, validating my need for control. I often cut women short of sharing personal details of their lives so they would seem less human, less real. As a man, I was taught my entire life that I must control the world. So, I used power, influence and control to dominate every situation: from the football field to the film set, even in my own home with my wife and children.”
After he was assaulted in 2016, Crews said things changed.
“I’m not a small or insecure man, but in that moment, and in this time following, I’ve never felt more emasculated,” he said. “As I watched women and colleagues in my industry come forward to share their #MeToo stories, this shame washed over me again and I knew I needed to act.”