Expert Weighs In On How Male Sexual Assaults Are Treated Amid Terry Crews’ Agent Accusations

Adam Venit returned to work after a one-month suspension

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Terry Crews went public with his sexual assault accusation in October. (Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Terry Crews seems to believe WME agent Adam Venit has not been appropriately punished for allegedly groping the actor. Crews tweeted Monday, Nov. 27 that Venit, who he claimed grabbed his genitals at a Hollywood party last year, was given a pass by the head of WME when he gave him a letter calling for Venit to be blacklisted.

 

In 2006, WME co-CEO Ari Emanuel wrote a letter published in The Huffington Post urging Hollywood to refuse to work with actor Mel Gibson, who made headlines for spewing anti-Semitic rhetoric that year.


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Crews said he sent that letter to Emanuel replacing key components to reflect Crew’s situation with Adam Venit.

The seemingly dismissive response to Crews’ attempt at taking action against his accuser could lead many other men who have been in similar situations to feel ashamed.

According to Marietta, Ga.-based counselor Anisha Cooper of Summit’s Edge Counseling, there are higher incidents of sexual assaults against men that go unreported because of stigma — especially among the socially elite.

“I used to also work for Georgia Southern University’s counseling center,” she told Atlanta Black Star. “I’ve worked with a lot of male victims — football players, basketball players — popular people that assume that because they have this kind of praise in the community, that they shouldn’t have experienced whatever traumas they experience. I’m noticing a lot more that does go unreported. I don’t know that we have the accurate stats and data on male sexual assault because of the shame surrounding it in general.”

Crews’ situation highlights the disparity between how men’s sexual assault accusations are received versus those issued by women. When the Harvey Weinstein bombshell dropped, in October,  support quickly followed through the reemergence of the “Me Too” campaign on social media. However, Crews hasn’t seen the same overwhelming support, although his “Everybody Hates Chris” co-star Tichina Arnold and actress Aisha Tyler have backed him.

Cooper said the response to Crews’ allegation has to do with the way men are perceived.

“Especially with Black men, toxic masculinity is a real issue in our community,” she said. “So on top of dealing with the victim-blaming mentality — ‘Since you’re the man, why couldn’t you protect yourself? How did that happen to you?’ — all of the layers that women deal with … men deal with it ten-fold because seemingly, they should be able to protect themselves.”

In Crews’ case, Cooper says people glimpse his stature and assume he should be able to defend himself.

“They miss the point that he can still be victimized,” she said.

But there is one key that can help society change how it perceives male sexual assault: education.

“That is so vital to dismantling rape culture,” Cooper said. “It’s so important for us to educate people on what rape culture is, what it looks like and why the issues continue to happen. Because people don’t understand that rape and sexual assault is not about the sexual act at all [it’s about power]. I think that we have to do more education about victim blaming as well so that people know it’s not about what you wear, it’s not about how big you are, it’s not about how strong you are.”

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