Joshua Bassett has shut down an internet troll after they tried to invalidate his experience with sexual abuse.
Content warning: This story may include topics that could make some readers feel uncomfortable.
Earlier this month, the Disney star sat down with GQ and revealed that he was sexually assaulted during his childhood and teenage years.
In the interview, the 20-year-old recounted a moment in Spain in which he said he ”scream cried for three and a half hours” due to the trauma.
“I experienced sexual abuse a lot in my childhood,” he told the publication.
“I didn’t remember that until last year, which is pretty insane. I buried it so far. And when I was a teen, a much older man routinely abused me, and I wasn’t able to see it for what it was at the time.”
Soon after the interview was released, fans were quick to showcase support for Bassett and his bravery.
Even though he received a massive amount of support, the singer-songwriter also faced pushback from internet trolls invalidating his experiences.
One Twitter user wrote: “Men can’t be raped it’s just a fact. If your a man who claims to have gotten raped go put on a dress.”
Soon after the tweet, Bassett took to his Instagram story to effortlessly shut down the ignorant user and their harmful comments.
“And we wonder why more people don’t come forward,” he wrote next to a screenshot of the tweet.
“Started when I was 5. You haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about and how damaging it is.”
After sharing more insensitive comments from Twitter users, the young star ended his Instagram story with a powerful statement encouraging people to do better.
“I’m fortunately able to let these things roll off my shoulder, and not take them personally,” he wrote.
“Make me the punching bag all you want, just do me a favour: never, ever, ever say such vile things to, at, or about anyone else ever again. we are better than this.”
He went on to say that the harmful comments are the reason why abuse survivors are fearful of speaking out.
“Just because I’m speaking up doesn’t mean I’m the only one with something to say — and if I can help JUST ONE person feel empowered, all the internet nonsense melts away,” he continued.
“Sending love and light to everyone, including the people who made those comments.”
Alongside his emotive interview with GQ, Bassett has also used music as a way to process the life-changing incident.
In his heartfelt track Set Me Free, the singer details his journey of healing and the emotional ups and downs he has experienced.
“I’ve been runnin’ away, I’ve been facin’ my fears / Tell my mum I’m okay while I’m holdin’ back tears / It’s been a fuckin’ year,” he sings on the track.
At the time of the song’s release, Bassett referred to the record as “an anthem for me and the sort of people who’ve held pain and power over me my whole life.”
He then added: “You’ve taken so much from me, but you don’t get to take all of me.”
Despite how traumatising his experience was, Bassett is ready to “help people who are experiencing that” by having an open dialogue on the topic on a podcast focused on “heavy talks” in 2022.
He explained that he wants it to be “the podcast I wish I had when I was a kid.”
Galop is an LGBTQ+ charity there for those who have experienced abuse or have been the victim of a hate crime. They can be contacted Monday to Friday from 10am-4pm on 0207 7042040 or at HateCrime@galop.org.uk. You can find out more about them here.