One woman’s powerful message about victim blaming has gone viral.
On July 19, 22-year-old Bree Wiseman posted a photo to Facebook of her adorable dog obediently sitting next to a plate of food. At first glance, the photo looks like your run-of-the-mill cute pet post, but a closer look reveals something much more powerful.
“To the people that say women get raped due to the way they are dressed,” Wiseman wrote in the caption. “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 simple yet powerful comparison quickly went viral. As of Thursday afternoon, the post had amassed 128,000 likes and 266,000 shares.
Wiseman, a pastry chef and restaurant manager from Tennessee, told HuffPost that she wrote the post because of her own experience with sexual assault. All too often, she said, perpetrators’ actions are excused because people blame the victim.
“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. Appearances shouldn’t make any difference in sexual assault cases,” she said, adding, ”How is it that a simple-minded animal has the ability to understand better than a large part of the adult population?”
The 22-year-old said she wants people to realize just how insidious victim-blaming can be, and she hopes posts like hers help raise awareness.
“The only person to blame in a rape offense is the rapist," she said. "It was their decision to rape. People shouldn’t have to worry about what they chose to wear for fear of rape. I want people to see that this is a problem, and to stand together against victim-shaming.”
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