Abigail Breslin Goes To Bat For Other Sexual Assault Survivors By Sharing Her Own Experience

Out of every 1,000 rapes, only 310 are reported to the police.

Earlier this month, as part of an effort to dispel the myth that sexual assault cannot occur within relationships, actress Abigail Breslin revealed via Instagram that she had been sexually assaulted by an acquaintance. Now the newly 21-year-old is fighting back against some Instagram trolls who insisted that "only reported rape counts."

Breslin's initial post, below, came in the midst of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

i knew my assailant. #SexualAssaultAwarenessMonth #breakthesilence

A post shared by Abigail Breslin (@abbienormal9) on

The Little Miss Sunshine star received plenty of encouraging words from others after opening up about her assault, and even thanked fans for their "positivity, love, and support" in a follow-up Instagram video.

❤️u guys

A post shared by Abigail Breslin (@abbienormal9) on

Unfortunately, not all of the responses Breslin received were positive. Yet instead of dismissing those who made damaging statements like "only reported rape counts," Breslin fought back by drawing on her own personal experience. "I was in a relationship with my rapist and feared not being believed," Breslin wrote, in part, of why she never reported her own rape. "I also feared that if my case didn't lead anywhere, he would still find out and hurt me even more."

And Breslin is hardly alone. For starters, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, out of every 1,000 rapes, only 310 are reported to the police.

#knowthefacts.

A post shared by Abigail Breslin (@abbienormal9) on

That figure is even more sobering when compared to robberies and assault and battery crimes — 619 of every 1,000 and 627 of every 1,000 are reported to police, respectively.

The organization also notes that of the sexual violence crimes not reported to police from 2005-2010, 20 percent of victims said they stayed quiet because they feared retaliation, and an additional 13 percent believed the police would not do anything to help. Another 8 percent believed their assault was not important enough to report, and an additional 7 percent did not want to get the perpetrator in trouble.

From a legal standpoint, sexual assault has always been difficult to prosecute. Consent (or lack thereof) is often extremely tough to prove. Even though false rape reports are a statistical minority — likely representing only between 2 and 8 percent of cases, according to Vox — the accuser's credibility is almost always called into question.

As T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong put it in their Pulitzer-winning report, An Unbelievable Story of Rape, "The credibility of the victim was often on trial as much as the guilt of the accused."

To add insult to injury, many victims of sexual assault then go on to experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Thankfully, there are advocacy groups (and others) working to end sexual violence and provide assistance to survivors.

Equality Now, for example, is a worldwide organization that advocates for strong laws and policies to protect women and girls from sexual violence, ensures the justice system functions with proper investigation, prosecution and punishment of offenders, and pushes for legal procedures that support survivors and prevent re-victimization. 

By using her platform to debunking the myths that surround sexual assault, Breslin helped to chip away at the social misconceptions that protect policies and institutions that make reporting difficult for survivors of sexual assault.

Cover image via Shutterstock / Tinseltown.

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