Eliza Dushku has come out about the abuse she endured as a child actress and named her abuser in a powerful essay that she posted on her Facebook account. Please note: Dushku’s essay contains a graphic description of her abuse.
“When I was 12 years old, while filming True Lies, I was sexually molested by Joel Kramer, one of Hollywood’s leading stunt coordinators,” she opens her essay. True Lies was her fourth film role and was released in 1994.
Duskhu explains that Kramer began the process of grooming, by “making her feel special” and how he fostered trust with the young actress and her parents. Forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner lists targeting and gaining trust as two distinct tools of grooming that child sex predators employ in order to offend.
“I remember vividly how he methodically drew the shades and turned down the lights; how he cranked up the air-conditioning to what felt like freezing levels, where exactly he placed me on one of the two hotel room beds,” writes Dushku, before explaining how Kramer molested her.
Duskhu also suggests that she may have suffered an accident on the set of the film as retaliation for telling a trust adult female friend. “…When my tough adult female friend came out to the set to visit and face him, later that very same day, by no small coincidence, I was injured from a stunt-gone-wrong on the Harrier jet. With broken ribs, I spent the evening in the hospital.” Kramer, as the stunt coordinator for the film, was responsible for ensuring her physical safety on the set of the action film. “My life was literally in his hands: he hung me in the open air, from a tower crane, atop an office tower, 25+ stories high. Whereas he was supposed to be my protector, he was my abuser.”
She writes that she told her parents contemporaneously, but that trust and taboos surrounding child sexual abuse prevented her family from taking action. Dushku is choosing to tell her story now in part because Kramer still has a job in Hollywood: he most recently worked on Blade Runner 2049 and Furious 7. “…A few weeks ago, I found an internet photo of Joel Kramer hugging a young girl. That image has haunted me near nonstop since,” wrote Dushku, as she adds that she hopes her voice will give comfort and strength to others. “Through the years, brave fans have regularly shared with me how some of my characters have given them the conviction to stand up to their abusers. Now it is you who give me strength and conviction. I hope that speaking out will help other victims and protect against future abuse.”
You can read the full essay here. Refinery29 has reached out to Dushku and Kramer for comment.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
Read These Stories Next:
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?