As more and more women come forward with stories of the times they were sexually harassed and assaulted by disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, it’s a good time to remind ourselves that women are not the only people who can be victims of sexual assault. Men can be targeted too; according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 1 in every 10 victims of sexual violence is male.
It’s also important to start realizing that Weinstein is not the only alleged prolific abuser in Hollywood. It’s been a largely ignored “secret” that the industry is absolutely rife with sexism and mistreatment basically for as long as it’s existed.
Now, as we’re all starting to realize how pervasive this really is, men are starting to come forward and tell their sexual assault stories. James Van Der Beek just revealed in a series of tweets that, throughout his career, he’s been groped and harassed, and he never felt he could speak out about it because the people assaulting him had more power in the industry than he did. Doesn’t this story sound familiar?
“What Weinstein is being accused of is criminal. What he’s admitted to is unacceptable – in any industry. I applaud everybody speaking out,” Van Der Beek wrote. “I’ve had my ass grabbed by older, powerful men, I’ve had them corner me in inappropriate sexual conversations when I was much younger. I understand the unwarranted shame, powerlessness & inability to blow the whistle. There’s a power dynamic that feels impossible to overcome.”
While Van Der Beek’s tweets are going viral, he’s not the first man to speak out about being assaulted since the Weinstein news broke. Terry Crews shared his story, also in a string of tweets, about an unnamed “high level Hollywood executive” who groped him at a function in front of his wife. Crews says the exec apologized to him, but he didn’t pursue any further justice because he was afraid of being ostracized and losing work.
As more and more people become aware of how pervasive this kind of predatory behavior is in certain industries, it’s a time for change. We can only hope something positive comes of this in that regard.