Terry Crews is a sexual assault survivor. His brave testimony to Congress is a must-see.

Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images.

Terry Crews' courage and advocacy have made him an important ally in the #MeToo era.

The "Brooklyn 99" star has been an outspoken advocate, opening up about his own experience with sexual assault.

"My name is Terry Crews," he said at the beginning of his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I am an actor, author, former athlete, advocate, and a survivor of a sexual assault."


He was speaking before the committee in support of passing a Bill of Rights for assault survivors in all 50 states. Congress and the White House already passed their own Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act in 2016 that was signed into law by President Barack Obama, but advocates say more protections are still needed at the state level.

"I wanted these survivors to know that I believe them," he said. "I supported them and that this happened to me too."

It's meaningful for people like Crews to speak out about toxic masculinity.

Crews has been praised for his courage in speaking up — but he's also been attacked. After he stepped forward, Crews says he was threatened by a producer on "The Expendables" film series to drop his lawsuit or face being removed from the film.

Rapper and fellow actor Curtis Jackson, aka "50 Cent," publicly mocked Crews through his Instagram after Crews spoke to Congress, suggesting the former NFL star "strap up."

Crews was having none of this, which he made clear in his testimony. “I was told over and over that this was not abuse. This was just a joke. This was just horseplay,” he said. “But I can say one man’s horseplay is another man’s humiliation."

Supporting sexual assault survivors is essential. Moments like this help to make that support an undisputed reality.

There's no shortage of things people can learn about preventing sexual harassment and assault by listening more to the people who have experienced it. Having an open mind and open heart goes a long way toward moving past the culture of toxic masculinity and the problems it creates.

As Crews has said, when women speak out on the issue, men should listen, but men also play a critical role in educating and policing their own communities.

When a celebrity like Terry Crews speaks up, it matters. No one can challenge his stature as a "tough guy." He can admit the problems inherent with the traditionally narrow definition of masculinity that society seems to uphold. He's moved beyond it and hopes others will do the same.

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But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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