#SexualAssault

Terry Crews Posted The Apology Letter From The Man Who Sexually Assaulted Him

It looks like justice is finally being served.

Yesterday, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor tweeted out a screenshot of a letter he received from Adam Venit.

Last year, Terry Crews filed a lawsuit against Venit for sexually assaulting him at a party and trying to blackmail him into being quiet about it. In addition, Crews shared the story on Twitter, so that he could act as a role model of sexual assault victims.

Now, almost a year later, Crews has posted a letter of apology from Venit. While it seems Crews received the letter back in March, he is only now sharing the message because Venit recently resigned from his position at William Morris Endeavor.

“It meant nothing without a resignation,” said Crews to Deadline.

In the letter, Venit apologizes for his crime against Crews.

“The intent of this letter is to start a dialogue in service of taking responsibility for the emotional challenge that this experience has caused you and your family," the letter reads. "I have dedicated myself to spiritual self-discovery in an effort to be the best person I can be for the rest of my life, and hopefully make difference to me, my family and everyone I know..."

"I know that you didn't ask for any of this," Venit continues. "Again, I take full responsibility for us being here now, together in this situation. I am sorry for all of it... I have no right to expect your forgiveness, but I am asking for it nonetheless."

Due to Venit’s recent resignation, Crews’ legal battle has come to a close.

Soldier Shares His Experience Of Male-On-Male Sexual Assault

A recent New York Times article penned by U.S. Army Captain Justin Rose shares his first-person account of having been the victim of sexual assault during his time as a U.S. Marine.

The incident occurred in 2006 while deployed to the Horn of Africa. The perpetrator was a fellow Marine, someone Rose considered a friend.

At the time, Rose told his superiors what had happened, and months later he testified at a court martial along with three other Marines who had reported similar inappropriate sexual misconduct.

But the result of that legal proceeding was for Rose and his fellow Marines to be labeled “liars” and “co-conspirators” who were trying to ruin a man’s reputation.

They were told their stories were not believable, and that the accused was a Midwesterner with a religious background. The military judge refused to buy the four men’s allegations.

What stands out most in Rose’s personal essay was the shame that he felt. He was a Marine - how could he have “let” this happen?

From The New York Times:

Long after the attack itself is over, you’re left dealing with all the toxic doubts and self-blame that come with being sexually assaulted.

I fought with the idea that I somehow invited this upon myself, that I deserved it or was somehow to blame for the assault. It stripped away my confidence and degraded the trust I had in my fellow Marines.

I questioned the values that I first bought into when I became a Marine: the belief in honor, courage and commitment that was instilled by our drill instructors. I didn’t immediately confront my attacker face to face — so where was my courage or honor? How would I react to real combat?

Where was the commitment from my fellow Marines, when I needed support in the aftermath of the attack? Would they be there for me if I needed their help on the battlefield one day?

Before, during and after the military trial, Rose became the subject of constant taunting by his fellow Marines as his noncommissioned officers had shared the allegations.

Rose eventually resigned from the Marines (“I could no longer wear the uniform of the man who assaulted me”) and accepted a commission in the Army Reserve.

In the years since the incident, Rose - like many men who experience male-on-male sexual assault - found the scars of shame and self-doubt to be the most impactful.

Folks’ refusal to believe that a man could sexually assault another man, plus the mockery by his own officers became the most enduring effects of the ordeal.

Even though Rose doesn’t identify as gay in his essay, LGBT people experience the same effects of shame, doubt and more when sexually assaulted.

According to the Center’s for Disease Control’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey:

• 26% of gay men and 37% of bisexual men say they have experienced rape, physical violent or more by an intimate partner

• 44% of lesbians and 61% of bisexual women say they have experienced rape, physical violent or more by an intimate partner

Many LGBTs who experience rape (especially in a dating situation) find it difficult to tell even close friends about the event for fear of not being believed.

I know.

I was the target (I refuse to use the word ‘victim’) of date rape myself back in the early 1990s in New York City. I know exactly how this can happen.

I won’t go into all the details, but I will say what happened was with someone I knew, during the course of a third date.

The person in question invited me to dinner out of Staten Island where he lived.

After dinner we went back to his place and things took an sexual direction, as happens between consenting adults. The attraction was mutual, but soon the guy took a turn and became very aggressive.

Even though I was a strapping, young-30-something who worked out six days a week, he was not only bigger than I, but didn’t pause to use pain to restrain me. Extreme pain.

In the moment, after much struggling and using the word "stop" many times, the only thoughts running through my shocked mind were to survive the moment.

The incident went on for about an hour and a half, with him keeping me, and my genitals, in a painful vise grip. Eventually, he fell asleep.

I know most folks would say, “You should have jumped up and left.”

But, by then it was then the middle of the night. I was frightened/stunned out of my mind.

I didn’t know where I was or how to get home to Manhattan’s Upper West Side, AND I was afraid to wake him for fear it would all begin again.

I lay awake the rest of the night keeping an eye on my assailant.

When morning came, he acted as if nothing had happened. It seemed it was all some bondage fantasy that he had indulged in without exploring the issue with me.

When he sensed my tension, he ‘apologized’ saying he didn’t realize I wasn’t ‘into it.’

I found a bus to take me to the Staten Island Ferry and back to Manhattan.

I didn’t have any physical scars but I didn’t share the incident with anyone. Not even my best friends.

When the words would begin to come, all I could feel was the doubt that I hadn’t defended myself enough. That it could have been my own fault.

I know it wasn’t.

A few years later, after I’d met my husband, we encountered the guy in NYC’s West Village in passing. He said ‘hi’ as if nothing had ever happened. But for me, it all came back.

I’m compelled to write this now because Captain Rose’s story reminded me how long that single incident affected me.

I really want folks to know that same-sex, male-on-male assault does, indeed, happen. And no, it’s not your fault.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, I urge you to seek counseling - even if you don’t think you need it. Sometimes, just expressing your thoughts to someone else gets the poison out of you and helps to alleviate some of the sense of shame.

A postscript to Captain Rose’s tale: ten years after his assault, he was contacted by a detective who was putting together a case against his Marine assailant. It turns out the man had gone on to a history of sexual assault and violence.

Rose traveled to Kansas where he once again took the stand to testify against the man.

This time, he was believed and his assailant was convicted, receiving a 49-year prison sentence.

Finally, vindication.

I encourage you to read the full essay at The New York Times here.

And if you or someone you know become the target of sexual assault, one resource to help you is the National Sexual Assault Hotline which can be reached at 1-800-656-4673 24/7 or online at https://ohl.rainn.org/hotline.

You can also find more resources at the Human Rights Campaign Sexual Assault webpage.

 

Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow Contributors.

 

The Backlash is Real For Bianca Del Rio Following Tasteless Jokes About Sexual Assault

No topic should be off-limits to a comedian; that said, certain hard topics demand more gravity, creativity and care than others, at the risk of turning everyone off.

RuPauls Drag Race season six winner Bianca Del Rio is embroiled in controversy following some pretty tasteless jokes she made last month during a set at Montreal Pride.

As reported by Pink News, Del Rio went after Drag Race season 10 contestant Blair St. Clair, who told RuPaul that she had been sexually assaulted in the past. Del Rio insinuated that St. Clair’s narrative was strategic, as she dropped the bombshell when she was at risk of being eliminated.

“Then you’ve got that other bitch—‘I was raped!’” Del Rio chided.

This is when the audience turned on Del Rio, booing the performer. But that didn’t stop her from escalating.

“No, f**k you, you notice she wasn’t raped until she was in the bottom two? Think about that, that’s strategy. F**k you, rape is funny if you haven’t had it. And if you weren’t raped, remember this–you ugly.”

More, louder boos (the performance was recorded, watch here).

But Del Rio kept digging a whole, making it worse: “Oh we’re supposed to have sympathy? F**k you. It is what it is, faggots.”

Lovely. Such tact. 

The producers of Montreal Pride released an apology for the remarks in an official statement, saying they will take “the necessary steps to ensure that such situations do not happen again.”

As of this writing, Del Rio has offered no apology for her comments. The performer’s real name is Roy Haylock, the most successful Drag Race contestant ever.

St. Clair was quick to tweet her thoughts about the jokes:

“In the U.S. someone is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes, but people persist in thinking that making rape or sexual assault jokes is ‘comedy.’ It is not,” she said in a tweet which swiftly went viral. “Rape jokes contribute to rape culture.”

Also reported by Pink News, other LGBTQ+ performers and sexual assault survivors have some choice words for Del Rio.

Katie Russell of the charity Rape Crisis England & Wales, points at the likelihood that sexual assault survivors were present in the audience:

“The overwhelming likelihood is there’ll be multiple victims and survivors of sexual assault, sexual abuse and rape in any audience of any show, many of whom will understandably be upset and distressed by so-called ‘rape jokes,’ or have memories or flashbacks of their own experiences triggered by this kind of material. Sexual violence and abuse victims and survivors deserve to be able to enjoy stand-up comedy and nights out as much as anyone else. And as a society, we need to stop making light of these topics.”

Sexual assault survivor Jen Powell, who performs as drag king Adam All, doesn’t mince words, saying, “Rape is never funny. Making a joke out of it makes light of a very serious problem in our society, normalizing it, allowing people to see it as trivial or minor, that it happens, suggesting that people should just get over it.”

For more on this story, including other LGBTQ+ performers’ take, and words from sexual assault survivors, visit Pink News.

Where do you stand on this? Let us know in the comments.

A South Carolina Man Lied To Police About Being Raped By His Grindr Date

A Greenville, South Carolina man is now facing potentially five years in prison after he was caught lying to police about being raped.

A police report says that 37-year-old Joel Harris Peifer, of Rhett Street, met the authorities on the morning of July 16 at Greenville Memorial Hospital after an alleged sexual assault.

According to NBC affiliate WYFF, Peifer told the story that he met an 18-year-old on Grindr and had consensual sex with him. Then Peifer says he was drugged and raped while he was unconscious.

Taking this accusation seriously, the police asked if they could search Peifer’s apartment for additional evidence, but he told them no because he might have drugs or other illegal paraphernalia inside.

Then, police pulled up a picture of a teen and he claimed it was the one who raped him.

According to Greenville News, the arrest warrant then says that police determined that Peifer’s story was a lie after reading text messages between the two as well as other investigative measures.

Peifer was then arrested on Monday for giving a false report. False reports in South Carolina match the level of the crime originally lied about, so Peifer is facing a first-degree felony charge.

While he was released on bond on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson for the Greenville Police Department, he must return for his first court hearing later on.

If convicted, Joel Harris Peifer could face five years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

h/t: WYFF, Greenville News

Robin Wright Breaks Silence On Sex Abuse Allegations Against Kevin Spacey

Robin Wright, star of the hit Netflix series House of Cards, publicly addressed the allegations of sexual assault against former co-star Kevin Spacey for the first time.

Speaking to Savannah Guthrie of The Today Show this morning, Wright said:

“Kevin and I knew each other between action and cut, and in between setups where we would giggle. I didn’t really, I didn’t know the man. I knew the incredible craftsman that he is."

 

In the wake of Spacey's dismissal from the show, it's been announced that the final season of House of Cards will focus on Wright's character of "Claire Underwood." 

Wright's statement comes as more allegations of 'inappropriate behavior' by Oscar winner Spacey continue to pile up.  Three more men have come forward accusing Spacey of sexual assault.

All three men say the assaults took place in the 1990s in England. Police in the UK are now investigating six different accusations of assault by the actor.

Concurrently, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is looking into a 1992 accusation of sexual assault against Spacey.

It was in late October of 2017 that the Academy Award winner's career began to spin out from under him as Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp came forward during the surge of the #MeToo movement to accuse Spacey of making a sexual advance to him in the 1980s when Rapp was only 14-years-old.

Spacey responded by coming out via Twitter.

Almost immediately, an avalanche of other men came forward with their own reports of sexual impropriety. 

The 58-year-old actor was released from his starring role on House of Cards after several members of the cast and crew raised their own accusations.

Additionally, Spacey was also edited out of the movie All the Money in the World shortly before it’s release and replaced with Christopher Plummer, who would go on to be nominated for Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Awards for his work in the film.

According to reports, Spacey's agent and publicist have severed ties with the actor.

George Takei Bears No Ill Will As Accuser Walks Back Alleged Sexual Assault

UPDATE: George Takei responded to the report in The New York Observer via Twitter with this statement:

“As many of you know, this has been a very difficult period for myself and my husband Brad as we have dealt with the impact of these accusations, but we are happy to see that this nightmare is finally drawing to a close. As I stated before, I do not remember Mr. Brunton or any of the events he described from forty years ago, but I do understand that this was part of a very important national conversation that we as a society must have, painful as it might be.”

“It is in that spirit that I want folks to know, despite what he has put us through, I do not bear Mr. Brunton any ill will, and I wish him peace. Brad and I are especially grateful for the many fans who stood by me throughout this ordeal. Your support kept us going, and we are so immensely thankful for you.”

*******************************************************

Months ago, as the #MeToo movement was heating up, many folks were surprised when a former model named Scott Brunton came forward to accuse Star Trek actor George Takei of sexual assault dating back to the early 1980s.

The impact on Takei was immediate as the story went viral. Suddenly, social media’s wise “gay uncle” had been tarred and feathered as a sexual predator.

Takei, wounded, issued a clear denial of the story:

 

 

Now, Brunton has spoken to the New York Observer’s Shane Snow in a lengthy interview where the former model now admits he doesn’t remember Takei groping him.

In fact, Brunton walks back several talking points about the night in question and his tone has softened regarding the allegations.

In the article, Brunton admits that, upon arriving in Los Angeles in his early 20s, he “became very wary of people—men—who may have wanted just to get into my pants.”

And yet, it was in 1981 that Brunton, having broken up with him boyfriend at the time, found himself out one evening for dinner and a play with the Star Trek actor which ended in Takei’s condo having cocktails.

Brunton’s says after two drinks he stood up and became dizzy. Takei led him to a bean bag chair where Brunton believes he passed out for a moment. When he came to, he says Takei was attempting to remove his pants.

Although Takei reasoned he was trying to make the younger man more comfortable, he got up and drove home.

Brunton would later tell The Oregonian that, “I know unequivocally he spiked my drink.” 

But Snow spoke to two different medical toxicologists who ruled out the idea of a spiked drink.

“The most likely cause is not drug-related,” said Lewis Nelson, the director of medical toxicology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “It sounds like postural hypotension, exacerbated by alcohol.” Postural hypotension is a sudden decrease in blood pressure that can occur when a person stands up quickly—and can make one dizzy enough to pass out even without alcohol. Brunton had made it clear to me, twice, that dizziness hit him only when he stood up.

“The alcohol alone, if drunk quickly, could account for [his browning out], particularly if there was a bit of postural hypotension,” said date-rape expert Michael Scott-Ham of Principal Forensic Toxicology & Drugs, a consulting firm in London, who has testified in criminal cases for 35 years. “To recover so speedily doesn’t sound like the actions of a drug.”

According to experts, victims of the date-rape drug Rohypnol (“roofies”) describe the next day as the worst hangover of their lives, and have little to no memory of what happened while drugged.

Nelson added that there were no drugs available in 1981 that could have done what Brunton claims.

When Snow shared that info with Brunton, the former model admitted he felt better about the incident in that “it makes him a little less sinister.”

Snow also notes that Brunton’s story about being groped or fondled changed over time. In an interview with CNN, Brunton didn’t mention touching at all.

Snow directly asked Brunton about the issue:

I asked him to clarify the issue. “Did he touch your genitals?”

“You know…probably…” Brunton replied after some hesitation. “He was clearly on his way to…to…to going somewhere.”

We shared a pause.

“So…you don’t remember him touching your genitals?”

Brunton confessed that he did not remember any touching.

 

“There’s nothing to prosecute here,” former Senior Deputy District Attorney Ambrosio Rodriguez told Snow. He said that taking off someone’s pants is “making a move,” and making a move isn’t a crime if the instigator backs off when told “no.”

Brunton asserts he felt “betrayed” by his friend Takei for hitting on him and he still wants an apology from Takei.

“I just want him to apologize for taking advantage of our friendship,” Brunton said.

For Takei’s part, a personal friend told Snow, “This has been the worst thing to happen to George since the internment camps.”

In the end, Snow characterizes Brunton as “a sympathetic and well-intentioned man, would go on to walk back key details and let slip that, in his effort to be listened to, he’d fabricated some things.” 

And while not dismissing the idea that Takei could have done something inappropriate almost 40 years ago, Snow’s take after surveying what he’d learned was, “We—both public and press—got the George Takei assault story wrong.”