Eliza Dushku is an American actress and model known for her numerous television roles, as well as for her roles in films like True Lies. When she was filming True Lies, Dushku was only 12 years old and had a horrific experience off set with her stunt coordinator Joel Kramer. Kramer was the leading stunt coordinator and molested Dushku during a night off set. Ever since this horrific experience, Dushku struggled with how and when to reveal this. For the last 25 years she did not seem ready to take action for what had happened to her – until now.
Dushku decided to write an open letter about what happened to her, 25 years ago, while filming True Lies. Dushku shared with the world that Kramer methodically built her and her parents’ trust for months. One evening, the child actress was lured into a Miami hotel room by Kramer and sexually assaulted. Dushku detailed her experience through the open letter and how she struggled filming after that night. Kramer was her stunt coordinator and therefore her life was literally in his hands throughout stunts. ‘He was supposed to be my protector, he was my abuser’, she wrote in her open letter on her personal Facebook. ‘I found an Internet photo of Joel Kramer hugging a young girl. That image has haunted me near non-stop since. I can no longer hide what happened’, she wrote.
Dushku’s horrific experience is unfortunately not a unique one. Many young sexual assault victims are often molested by an adult close to them or in a position of power. Currently, 1 out of 5 girls and 1 out of 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse is a largely hidden crime and more than 8 out of 10 children know their abuser. They are family members or friends, neighbours, the babysitter or other adults in a position of power. Dushku’s public position gives her a platform to bring this experience to light, but it is not something that only happens in Hollywood.
Unfortunately, it is very disturbing to suspect or accuse someone we know of sexually abusing a child. This becomes even more difficult when this person is a family member or someone in a position of power, like a boss. Thousands of people discover every year that someone in their circle has abused a child. In Dushku’s situation, it is regarding the stunt coordinator who was a person in a position of power at the time. Action can lead to the prevention of continued abuse, getting effective treatment and recovery.
Dushku’s open letter has inspired at least two more victims to speak up against Kramer. In retrospect, Dushku had never shared the full details what happened that night with her parents, because she was embarrassed and terrified. In light of recent events where many celebrities shared their stories about their past experience with sexual abuse, we can only hope that these stories will prevent these hidden crimes from happening.