As we raise public awareness during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it’s important to educate everyone about the prevention of sexual violence. It’s also important to look to public figures that have been vocal about their own stories. If you or anyone you know is seeking support, here is the link for RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. TW: sexual violence.
1. Alyssa Milano
Milano’s October 15, 2017 post is known for re-launching the #MeToo movement that was previously started by Tarana Burke in 2006. Inspired by the case against Harvey Weinstein, Milano sought to spread awareness about sexual violence by re-launching the movement. Milano shared her own story in this Vox essay in which she admits it took her thirty years to open up to anyone about her assault, including her parents. Without the bravery exhibited by Milano’s openness, we might have never seen the re-launch of the #MeToo movement.
2. Lady Gaga
If you’ve never listened to Gaga’s tear jerker, “Til It Happens to You,” drop everything and grab a box of tissues. Be warned – this song will give you the chills. It isn’t Lady Gaga’s first song about the rape she survived at 19-years-old (see “Swine”) but the lyrics of "Til It Happens to You" are so raw. She echoes the words often told to victims, that they should “move on” and “hold your head up / and be strong” before questioning how the person giving the advice could possibly know how impossible that is “til it happens” to them.
3. Terry Crews
It’s important to remember that men can also be victims of sexual violence. In 2017, the former NFL player and Brooklyn Nine-Nine star tweeted that “This whole thing with Harvey Weinstein is giving me PTSD. Why? Because this kind of thing happened to ME.” He shared that his privates were groped in front of his wife at a social event by an executive whose identity was revealed to be agent Adam Venit, who Crews filed a sexual assault lawsuit against. Venit and WME settled the lawsuit with Crews as Venit stepped down from his position at WME in September 2018. Through his courageous story, Crews makes sure the public understands that sexual violence can happen to anyone.
4. Demi Lovato
Lovato opened up in her tell-all Youtube documentary, “Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil” this year, including about being sexually assaulted as a teenager. In the documentary, Lovato says, “I lost my virginity to a rape.” The footage being shown cuts to a scene from the Disney Channel Original movie Camp Rock, revealing to viewers that the assault occurred when she was working for the conglomeration. She proceeded to admit that it’s taken her years to publicly share her story because it’s taken her that long to process the trauma and start to understand what happened to her. Lovato also recounts the night of her life-threatening overdose in which she reveals that she was sexually assaulted by her drug dealer. If you feel that you could benefit from learning more about Lovato’s story, here is the link to the first video of her four-part documentary.
It’s impossible to name every celebrity that has been vocal about their story. Since the re-emergence of the #MeToo movement in 2017, Vox magazine reveals that “262 celebrities, politicians, CEOs, and others have been accused of sexual misconduct.” Awareness and education are vital in preventing sexual violence. For further information about sexual violence and what you can do to get involved, please visit the NSVRC website.