Rapper 50 Cent mocked Terry Crews on social media recently, for speaking out about alleged sexual harassment. The actor and former NFL player had alleged sexual harassment at the hands of a "high-level Hollywood executive" in a series of tweets last year.
This whole thing with Harvey Weinstein is giving me PTSD. Why? Because this kind of thing happened to ME. (1/Cont.)— terry crews (@terrycrews) October 10, 2017
My wife n I were at a Hollywood function last year n a high level Hollywood executive came over 2 me and groped my privates. (2/cont.)— terry crews (@terrycrews) October 10, 2017
Jumping back I said What are you doing?! My wife saw everything n we looked at him like he was crazy. He just grinned like a jerk. (3/cont.)— terry crews (@terrycrews) October 10, 2017
The Brooklyn Nine-Nine star also revealed how he refrained from reporting the incident, as his alleged groper was very powerful and influential.
I decided not 2 take it further becuz I didn’t want 2b ostracized— par 4 the course when the predator has power n influence. (9/cont.)— terry crews (@terrycrews) October 10, 2017
The incident motivated Crews to speak in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights, where he remarked that "the silence is deafening when it comes to men talking about this issue."
Crews has shown immense courage by speaking up. He has been advocating #MeToo all along and even played a big part in the passing of the Survivor's Bill. However, a group of men have consistently shamed Crews for coming out in open about his sexual harassment. The latest among the alpha males to shame him is rapper 50 Cents. As per a CNN report, the rapper had posted a pair of photos of Crews on Instagram, one showed Crews topless with the words "I got raped, my wife just watched" superimposed over it, while another showed the actor with a rose in his mouth and the words "Gym time” in a corner.
shit like this is the reason men don’t come forward as victims of sexual assault often. 50 Cent is publicly mocking Terry Crews, allowing Russell Simmons (friends with Crews’ abuser who tried to get him to drop the charges) to openly laugh at him. pic.twitter.com/J16TUvDUYi— wesley (@wslymcln) June 26, 2018
"LOL, What the f*** is going on out here man? Terry: l froze in fear, they would have had to take me to jail. Get the strap," was how 50 Cent had captioned the picture. Due to the severe backlash, he deleted the post, however, many people took screenshots of his post and shared the rapper’s shallow views on social media.
Alpha males like 50 Cent, who mock male victims of sexual harassment, are the reason why many men suffer sexual crimes in silence, due to fear of mockery from other men.
It must have been so difficult for Crews to speak about his harrowing experience, considering his own image. It is also this kind of image, which prevents men like 50 Cent to acknowledge the existence of male survivors of sexual crimes.
Their toxic ideals of manhood shroud their gaze to such an extent, that they fail to see men as victims. Men are supposed to be strong, aggressive, ruthless and indomitable. How can they be victimised? Any man who has faced sexual harassment thus, is weak, vulnerable and a pushover. He must be shamed for not being a man enough. For not being strong enough to dominate his assailant. Little do such men realise that there are more aspects of sexual harassment than physical domination.
Crews’ recollection of his alleged assault at the hands of a Hollywood executive, during a Senate hearing for the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights, highlighted the dynamics of power which prevented him from retaliating.
He said, “I sit here before you in this committee just as an example — that a lot of people don’t believe that a person like me can be victimized,” adding, “What happened to me has happened to many, many other men... I have had thousands and thousands of men come to me and say, ‘Me too. This is my story, but I did not have the confidence, or I did not feel safe enough to come out,’ because you get blacklisted.”
Shame the perpetrators, not the survivors.
Men become victims of not just predators, but of the toxic ideology about manhood. For male survivors of sexual crimes, the victim shaming stems from cultural expectations which come attached to their gender. Their own peers turn into their worst enemies, forcing them either into silence or living in denial over what happened. Most such survivors don’t seek any help out of fear of peer backlash. “What will other men say?” becomes a bigger worry than the trauma they have faced.
This is another strong reason why we need to liberate men from this self-imposed cage of toxic masculinity.
An entire gender is under threat of crumbling down under the pressure of living up to their cultural imagery. Men like 50 Cent deny male survivors of help they need. They deny them of empathy and justice they deserve, because this fear of pear backlash results in most cases of male sexual harassment going unreported.
Male sexual harassment survivors need empathy from their peers. They need an acknowledgement that such a thing could happen to anyone. Even to a 6 foot 3-inch tall ex-football player. Their pain is as intense as that of any woman. But it shouldn’t be further aggravated by the shame of “failing” at manhood. The only way to relieve them of this burden is to shun 50 Cent and his toxic bros. If criticism, backlash and public outrage is the only way they are willing to understand the ways of the changing world, then so be it.
Picture Credit : Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America for Wiki Commons
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own