Why it’s so critical men in Hollywood speak out about being sexually assaulted

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Why it’s so critical men in Hollywood speak out about being sexually assaulted

And it helps all of us

The recent revelations regarding Harvey Weinstein's protracted history of sexual abuse have given many people in the entertainment industry the opportunity to come forward with their own experiences with sexual assault.

Rose McGowan, Cara Delevingne, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie all came forward with allegations contributing to the narrative of Weinstein's alleged pathological assault and harassment of women in the wake of the exposé published in The New Yorker on Tuesday.

Each of their stories, and each of the accounts of Weinstein's disgusting behavior, is both singularly devastating and all-too familiar- Powerful man takes advantage of vulnerable woman, who stays silent due to shame or fear or both. These admissions are both incredibly brave and crucial to unearthing just how alarmingly commonplace these transgressions can be.

And another kind of narrative also emerged in the wake of the Weinstein story that is just as alarming, but far less visible. Two men, actors Terry Crew and James Van Der Beek, recently shared stories about being sexually harassed by powerful men in Hollywood, as powerful men in Hollywood themselves.

Crews, best known (by me) for his iconic rendition of "A Thousand Miles" in White Chicks, shared his story in a series of tweets on Tuesday. They've been compiled in a few other tweets, like the one below:

Crews recalled an incident during which a Hollywood executive reached out and groped him in front of his wife at an industry event, and then called to apologize the next day. Crews candidly described his anger, and his decision to ultimately stay silent about the violation because "I didn’t want 2b ostracized— par 4 the course when the predator has power n influence."

James Van Der Beek of Dawson's Creek shared his experiences with sexual harassment in Hollywood early Thursday morning in a series of tweets about his early career.

Van Der Beek later added that the men who harassed him had either been "charged (by others) & punished" or died, so that's a rare happy ending to a story of this nature.

Crews's and Van Der Beek's decisions to share their experiences with sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood required courage and a willingness to be ridiculed- things that all victims of sexual assault who share their stories face, with the added complications of being both men and public figures.

Although women make up the majority of victims of sexual assault, statistics indicate that one out of every 10 rape victims are male, some people still don't believe that men can be sexually assaulted, a damaging stereotype that contributes to the silencing of all victims, but men in particular.

But Crews and Van Der Beek further reinforced the fact that no one is immune from sexual violence, and recognizing that fact is a step towards taking action to curtail harassment and punish the abusers in our midst, in the entertainment world and beyond.

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