Terry Crews, an American actor, artist, activist, and former American football player, had opened up about his sexual assault.
The motivation behind the courage to speak up came from the #MeToo movement; an international movement against sexual harassment that went viral on October 2017. The movement bred from a number of allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein, an American film producer. Around that time, Crews had a similar experience of sexual harassment inflicted upon by a person of power in the film industry, Adam Venit.
Seeing other people speak up about their experiences compelled him to do the same as an act of encouraging others as well.
This whole thing with Harvey Weinstein is giving me PTSD. Why? Because this kind of thing happened to ME. (1/Cont.)
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) October 10, 2017
Moreover, Crews aspires to help exploit the toxic mindset and power play that take place in the work setting. There are a lot of layers that comes with the discussion of this issue. Preconceived notions of a certain demographic create spaces for violence and disrespect among people. Race and gender are two of the primary aspects that come into play.
Terry Crews’s abuser, similar to those of a number of people in the industry, is a man in a powerful position.
They had taken advantage of the power they have been granted in order to assert dominance over others. Countless numbers of cases against these kinds of people have been left ignored and disrespected. Even more so that majority of these allegations came from women.
By fighting back, he’s also risking his career, and adding to the prejudice-fueled reputation of black people, most especially black men.
There is a stereotype that black men are strong, athletic, big, and aggressive. Terry Crews fits these standards associated with their race and gender. Thus, if he had acted out on impulse and defended himself at that moment, the media would have used him as a representation for aggressiveness apparent in black males. And the perpetrator comes out the victim.
Discussions regarding this issue brings up toxic masculinity.
A strong, athletic male such as Terry Crews to have been sexually assaulted has proven itself to be a difficult concept to imagine by the majority. But it’s not a concept. It’s a reality that has been occurring even before Terry Crews has spoken about his experience.
An example of this toxic stereotype is 50 Cent’s Instagram posts regarding Terry Crews. Despite the rapper eventually deleting the posts, the impression it had made won’t disappear. A number of commenters have expressed the same sentiment as 50 Cent: Terry Crews is weak.
What defines a man as man should not be the intrinsic meaning society associates with the actions he does; but by himself.
If he considers himself a man, then he is man. Consequently, since man is his own definition of man, girls don’t have a say in it, similar to how men don’t have a say in what makes a female a female.
Moreover, this is where masculine empowerment comes in. It is the strength and power that comes from his willingness to show himself the way he wants to.
Masculinity is commonly known or described as machismo which is defined to be the strong or aggressive masculine pride, or anything that is not candies and colored pink. However, associating men and masculinity to material things such as these has certainly proved itself problematic. It is this tendency to be materialistic that makes it more difficult for others, in this case, men, to be themselves in the way they want to or are comfortable with. Being okay with your masculinity is the definition of being masculine.
With all of that being said, Terry Crews’s gender, race, and physical attributes aren’t the reason behind his assault.
Sexual assault can happen to anyone regardless of their gender and race. It doesn’t only happen in Hollywood. Not all abusers has to be in a position of power to be capable of inflicting damage on others. If it can happen to a seemingly untouchable male, then it can happen to anyone.
As long as there are people who refuse to look at others as human beings, then these things are still possible.
Terry Crews has opened our eyes to the many harmful possibilities that are brought upon by discrimination and prejudice. All of these cases continuously arising encourages us to pause, think, and understand that the world isn’t meant to be looked at at the surface level.