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Abigail Breslin combats the myths of sexual assault and consent in Instagram post: “I knew my assailant”

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Kayleigh Dray
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There are many misconceptions about sexual assault – one of the most common of which is the idea that the perpetrator is usually a stranger. While this can be the case, according to Rape Crisis England and Wales, approximately 90% of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, such as in the case of intimate partner sexual violence or acquaintance rape.

Perpetrators of the latter might be a date, a classmate, a neighbour, a friend’s significant other. The list is endless and no matter the relationship to the attacker or previous sexual history, sexual assault is sexual assault.

Now, in order to highlight Sexual Assault Awareness Month, actor Abigail Breslin has made the point loud and clear by talking of her own experience of assault by someone she knew.



The 20-year-old Scream Queens star has ignited an emotional and passionate conversation on social media as a result of sharing a quote on Instagram explaining consent.

The passage – titled ‘Consent II’ – reads: “You are not obligated to have sex with someone that you’re in a relationship with.

“Dating is not consent [and] marriage is not consent.”

Breslin added her own personal caption, writing: “I knew my assailant.”

A post shared by Abigail Breslin (@abbienormal9) on

She included two hashtags: #SexualAssaultAwarenessMonth and #BreakTheSilence.

Breslin’s post has since been flooded with comments, with many of her followers sharing their own personal stories of sexual assault at the hands of someone they knew and trusted.



“Mine was an ex-boyfriend,” wrote one. “I have been very happily married for 15 years, but those scars are still there and leak into my relationship all these years later.

“The wounds from assault last a lifetime.”

Another added: “My boyfriend in high school sexually abused me for a year. I was 17. I’m now 24 – and I’m only just realising that what he did to me was abuse.”

Breslin’s post is a stark reminder that a relationship is not consent – and many have praised her for using her platform to make people more aware of intimate partner rape.

Rape Crisis England and Wales explains: “Only around 10% of rapes are committed by ‘strangers’. Around 90% of rapes are committed by known men, and often by someone who the survivor has previously trusted or even loved.

“People are raped in their homes, their workplaces and other settings where they have previously felt safe. Rapists can be friends, colleagues, clients, neighbours, family members, partners or exes.

“Risk of rape shouldn't be used as an excuse to control women's movements and restrict their rights and freedom.”

If you would like more information or support, visit Rape Crisis UK – or, alternatively, call 0808 802 9999 (usual opening times are noon–2.30pm and 7–9.30pm any day of the year and also between 3 - 5.30pm on weekdays).

Images: Instagram/Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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