High-profile figures and celebrities have publicly shared their experiences about sexual assault and rape. When people share their stories, it can encourage people to speak up and seek help if they had similar experiences. It can also shine a spotlight on how prolific such actions are in various aspects of life.
Some celebrities go on to help other victims of these heinous acts, while others call out the pervasive culture in some industries. Some participate in charities or foundations to spread awareness. Here are some Black public figures who shared their story and what they did after doing so.
This Academy Award-winning actress said she, a couple friends and several family members were survived sexual assault in 2016. Viola Davis works as an advocate for the Rape Foundation where she encourages victims to visit treatment centers. She was even honored during an annual brunch.
“Myself, my mother, my sisters, my friend Rebecca, my friend from childhood, we all have one thing in common: We are all survivors of sexual assault in some way, shape, or form,” she said, according to People.
The Associated Press said the Rape Foundation "provides free medical treatment, counseling and legal aid to sexual assault victims" at their treatment centers and "and Stuart House, which specializes in caring for sexually abused children."
The Being Mary Jane actress revealed in her memoir that she was raped at gunpoint at 19 years old. Gabrielle Union told The New York Times Magazine in 2018 that she has been speaking about sexual assault since the incident. When the #MeToo Movement started gaining traction, she said there are "a lot more microphones this time around than there’s ever been."
"I’ve been doing it for two decades... We’re now seeing how many people have dealt with sexual violence and the toll it can take," Union told the magazine. "And a lot of those people are waiting for that conversation or for somebody to tell them that they can be anything, that it does not define you."
Terry Crews shared his story about his privates being groped by a Hollywood executive in front of his wife back. “This whole thing with Harvey Weinstein is giving me PTSD. Why? Because this kind of thing happened to ME," he tweeted back in 2017.
"What happens is [athletes] win and they go, 'You know that girl? She's my trophy. I deserve that girl," Crews said. "In fact, she don't even want to be with me, but I don't care. I'm going to take it.' What kind of mindset is that? Never never never never never should that ever be accepted."
Karen Huger revealed that she was raped as a college student on The Real Housewives of Potomac. While speaking at a Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment (PAVE) event, she said the event nearly ruined her life and put her on a "self-destructive path as a youth."
Feeling "empowered", the RHOP grand dame has continued her work with PAVE over the last several years, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and raising awareness about sexual violence.
“I am put in a very wonderful position to show that when adversity comes your way it doesn’t stop you, it can propel you,” Huger told Page Six. “It is my responsibility to be real. I have no shame and I carry no burden because of what happened.”
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