Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman is tired of people blaming sexual assault on someone's clothing choices — and she took to Twitter today to make that clear.
"Just because a woman does a sexy photoshoot or wears a sexy outfit does not give a man the right to shame her or not believe her when she comes forward about sexual abuse," Raisman wrote.
Dressing in "sexy" clothing also doesn't give someone the right to sexually harass or assault a woman, Raisman wrote.
"Women are allowed to feel sexy and comfortable in their own skin, in fact I encourage you all to wear what you feel good in. I will not put up with any woman or girl being shamed for wanting o wear a skirt, dress, etc," she wrote. "I do not tolerate it. Are we clear?"
This isn't the first time Raisman has spoken out against the very real problem of victim blaming. In a Facebook Live interview with People in April, Raisman didn't hesitate to call out "alarming" sexual abuse statistics as the thing that was bothering her most at the moment. She tied the statistics — that one in four girls are sexually assaulted, and those are just the ones who report the abuse — to a culture that believes sexual harassment and assault are at least partially the fault of whatever these girls were wearing at the time.
“We live in a culture where if a girl is wearing a short skirt or she’s wearing a low cut blouse it’s okay for men to rape women, it’s just out of control,” Raisman said at the time. “I can’t tell you how many girls I know that have been sexually abused at some point in their life and it’s so sad.”
Raisman's tweet is a reminder of why so many survivors don't report their abuse — asking them what they were wearing at the time of their assault or saying that wearing sexy clothing provokes men implies that the assault is somehow their fault. But the blame 100% belongs on the abuser, and Raisman wants to make sure everyone knows that.
"STOP VICTIM SHAMING," she wrote. "It is because of you that so many survivors live in fear."
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: