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Terry Crews advocates for sexual assault victims, speaks with Senate about his experience

Terry Crews - American actor and former American football player, Photo Date: 7/20/2017 Cropped Photo: Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0 via MGN

WASHINGTON (Circa) -- Actor Terry Crews discussed his experience with sexual assault during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday.

"As I shared my story I was told over and over that this was not abuse that this was just a joke that this was just horseplay but I can say that one man's horseplay is another man's humiliation," Crews said as he discussed his genitals being grabbed by a Hollywood agent during an industry party in 2016.

Crews also said he was threatened with retaliation against his career if he failed to drop a civil suit against the agent - Adam Venit. The actor accused The Expendables producer Avi Lerner of threatening to removing his role from the fourth installment of the movie if Crews didn't end his court case.

Crews' lawsuit was eventually rejected. Venit was demoted and not fired by his place of employment, William Morris Endeavor.

The action star visited Washington, D.C. to advocate for the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights. It was already passed as a bill by Congress and signed by President Obama in 2016 but as of now only applies to federal cases. The goal is to make sure the bill of rights is applicable in all 50 states.

Under this bill, sexual assault victims would have the right to free medical examinations, notification about the risk of a rape kit being destroyed, the preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits, and they would be kept in the loop of what happened in their assault forensic exam.

"The assault lasted only minutes but what he was effectively telling me while he held my genitals in his hand was that he held the power that he was in control. This is how toxic masculinity permeates culture," Crews said. "I chose to tell my story and share my experience to stand in solidarity with millions of other survivors in the world that I know how hard it is to come forward. I know the shame associated with the song."

Some high profile figures in Hollywood have been critical of Crews' crusade against sexual assault. Rapper 50 Cent posted a meme implying the actor was being hypocritical. Russell Simmons, another celebrity who urged Crews to stop discussing his situation publicly, posted a comment under the picture with a laughing emoji.

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