Terry Crews Explains Why Sexual Assault Survivors Don't Come Forward

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 10/13/2017, 10:54 a.m.
Actor Terry Crews said he understands why women are reluctant to raise sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood power brokers like ...
Terry Crews

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN

(CNN) -- Actor Terry Crews said he understands why women are reluctant to raise sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood power brokers like Harvey Weinstein.

Why does he get it? "Because this kind of thing happened to ME," Crews said Tuesday.

As misconduct allegations mount against Weinstein, Crews became the latest celebrity to come forward with similar claims against another Hollywood executive. In sharing his story, Crews called attention to the power dynamic that he said keeps sexual assault survivors from speaking up.

Crews said his piece on Twitter, hours after an explosive New Yorker magazine story alleged that Weinstein had raped multiple women. The report included new allegations of harassment and other improper behavior. A spokeswoman for Weinstein denied the rape allegations in a statement to CNN. "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein," the statement read. "Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances."

The underlying message of Crews' disclosure isn't new or novel. But sexual assault survivors hope that hearing it from a man will show how widespread the problem is.

Weinstein scandal grows as more women come forward

Crews, known for his roles on "Everybody Hates Chris" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," did not name the "high level Hollywood executive" whom he accused of groping him at an industry event in 2016. He thought about challenging him until he considered the possible headlines on the incident: "240 lbs. Black Man stomps out Hollywood Honcho," he surmised. "Only I probably wouldn't have been able to read it because I WOULD HAVE BEEN IN JAIL. So we left."

Crews said he talked to people who worked with the executive. The next day, the executive called Crews to apologize, "but never really explained why he did what he did," Crews said.

"I decided not to take it further because I didn't want to be ostracized -- par for the course when the predator has power and influence," he said on Twitter.

"I let it go. And I understand why many women who this happens to let it go," he continued, laying out the potential scenario:

"Who's going to believe you? Few.

"What are the repercussions? Many.

"Do you want 2 work again? Yes.

"Are you prepared to be ostracized? No."

The balance of power

The power differential between Weinstein and his accusers has been a dominant theme of the scandal from day one. In the first article to detail allegations, an accuser cut to the core: "The balance of power is me: 0, Harvey Weinstein: 10."

The phrase "power dynamics" refers to the privilege and power that some hold in relation to others who may be marginalized or disenfranchised, such as women. In the workplace, people with higher status have power over the quality of life, opportunities and work advancement of those with lower status, said Thema Bryant-Davis, assistant professor of psychology with Psychology@Pepperdine, Pepperdine University's online Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology program.