Only 310 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported — and victims who do decide to come forward often face victim-blaming from their peers, the judicial system, and our society.
Last week, one 22-year-old woman, Bree Wiseman, addressed the common and horrifying phenomenon with a Facebook post that has gone viral.
Wiseman posted a picture of her dog sitting obediently on the floor, waiting for her approval before he eats. It’s an admittedly adorable photo, and could well have amassed attention in and of itself — but it’s her caption that is noteworthy.
“To the people that say women get raped due to the way they are dressed,” she writes, “This is my dog. His favorite food is steak. He is eye level with my plate. He won’t get any closer because I told him no. If a dog is better behaved than you are, you need to reevaluate your life. Feel free to share, my dog is adorable.”
The post has been shared over 273,000 times as of Friday morning (July 28).
“If a 4-year-old pit bull understands the word ‘no,’ even though he is looking at something he wants so bad he is literally drooling, then adults should understand ‘no,’ no matter how the other adult is dressed,” she told the Huffington Post. “Appearances shouldn’t make any difference in sexual assault cases. The only person to blame in a rape offense is the rapist.”
She is, of course, correct: pushing the blame onto the victim in cases of assault is not just nonsensical, it’s harmful. Consent becomes no less mandatory when a woman is wearing a bralette than when she is wearing a sweatshirt, and it can be revoked at any time.
“I want people to see that this is a problem, and to stand together against victim-shaming,” Wiseman continued.
Hopefully her post impacted more than a few people by clarifying just how black-and-white this issue, and the word “no,” really is.