One woman is using her dog to make a powerful point about sexual assault and victim blaming
There are responses that people tend to have when they hear of a sexual assault that are wholly inappropriate. One of them? Anything about the way the victim was dressed.
How a woman is dressed has absolutely no bearing on a predator’s decision to assault her, yet victim blaming remains pervasive. Bree Wiseman, a 22-year-old pastry chef and restaurant manager from Tennessee, has a pretty simple analogy that might help some people see the problem with victim blaming.
Earlier this month, Wiseman posted a photo to Facebook showing her precious dog eyeballing her steak dinner, but still sitting some distance away from the plate.
“To the people that say women get raped due to the way they are dressed,” Wiseman wrote. “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.”
Harsh, but true. Wiseman ended the post with this perfect kicker: “Feel free to share, my dog is adorable.”
The post has gotten hundreds of thousands of likes and shares, so it’s clearly resonating with people. Yet in the comments section, people are still arguing about whether it’s OK for a woman to wear revealing clothes, so the point is obviously going over some heads. Ugh, internet.
Wiseman told the Huffington Post that she wrote the post based on her own personal experience, and that she’s fed up with the actions of predators being excused because people think it’s OK to shift blame to 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,” she said. “Appearances shouldn’t make any difference in sexual assault cases. How is it that a simple-minded animal has the ability to understand better than a large part of the adult population?”
She hopes her post will get through to some people, and make them realize how damaging victim blaming can be.
“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.”
Amen to that.