With April marking Sexual Assault Awareness Month, actress Abigail Beslin bravely came forward on Instagram Tuesday to reveal that she's a survivor.
"I knew my assailant," she captioned the photo, which featured a poem about consent, along with the hashtag #breakthesilence.
"You are not obligated to have sex with someone that you're in a relationship with," the picture read. "Dating is not consent. Marriage is not consent."
Many of the "Dirty Dancing" star's Instagram followers appreciated her transparency, leaving comments like "Much love to you," and "Hugs for all of us who have been hurt," while others opened up about their own experiences.
"My rapist was my fiancé at the time," one person said. "But everyone family included said it doesn't count because we are engaged. Said I'm supposed to give him what he wants."
"Mine was an ex boyfriend," another replied. "I have been very happily married for 15 yrs, but those scars are still there and leak into my relationship all these yrs later. The wounds from assault last a lifetime."
One user, however, took this opportunity to call women "hypocrites" for having sex.
"Oh but yet you can sleep with as many people you're not in a relationship/marriage with all you want, right?" they said. "Women are such hypocrites."
That person was quickly shut down by a gang of angry Instagrammers in the comments (shown in the screenshot below).
In Canada alone, only about six in every 100 sexual assault cases are reported to police, which suggests many survivors often try to recover in silence.
Actress and musician Queen Latifah opened up to Essence magazine in 2009 about why she didn't tell anyone about her sexual assault and how it affected her romantic relationships with men moving forward.
"He violated me," she said when asked about her abuser. "I never told anybody — I just buried it as deeply as I could and kept people at an arm's distance. I never really let a person get too close to me. I could have been married years ago, but I had a commitment issue."
"I was a kid, and I had no power or control over the situation," she continued. "I really wish I'd had the strength and the knowledge to say something sooner. Because I always wondered. Did he do that to someone else?"
Hopefully with an increasing number of public figures speaking out on sexual assault, more women will feel empowered to come forward with their stories.
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