Bella Thorne isn’t the victim you want, so you’re ok slut-shaming her

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Bella Thorne isn’t the victim you want, so you’re ok slut-shaming her

And guess what? That’s gross

In a recent interview with Forbes, Bella Thorne talked about her latest movie, struggling with acne, and smoking weed with Snoop Dogg. But the loud, happy actress who self identifies as "a hippie" also discussed sharing her childhood sexual abuse with the world. It wasn't on her own time.

People on Twitter ask Bella why she's a slut all the time. They berate her and harass her for her public image. They wonder why she has such volatile relationships with her ex-boyfriends. They give her opinions on how she dresses her body. And one day, she just cracked.

This was fun #fashionweek #2017highlights

A post shared by BELLA (@bellathorne) on

Bella told Forbes, "I’ve been thinking about saying it for a really long time. I was just sad. Someone said this stupid comment that said, 'Was it Disney or were you just molested?' I was like, 'No it wasn’t Disney. And yes I was.' I was just so angry that I just tweeted it out."

She followed up her Twitter exchange with an Instagram post that further explained her history of abuse.

Bella Thorne was slut-shamed and harassed into sharing her experience. But even after public statements on her history of sexual abuse, people continued to shame her on social media for her 'promiscuous' behavior.

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One comment on her Instagram photo first addressing her sexual abuse

Another comment on her Instagram post

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…and another

All survivors don't act the same, and everyone deals with trauma differently

Not everyone is the "perfect victim" we often see portrayed in movies or personal essays. Often, survivors of sexual assault are painted as reserved, depressed, and repulsed by sexuality. Other times, they are portrayed as collected and mentally moved-on what they've experienced, but still asexual.

In reality, one in five women will be raped at some point in her life and one in four girls will be sexually abused before she is 18. Those women are not all asexual and they are not all reserved. But they should all feel valid in their experiences as survivors.

Feelin myself today

A post shared by BELLA (@bellathorne) on

'Non-traditional' survivors have a whole set of separate struggles

We fail to discuss hyper-sexuality as a response to trauma despite the fact many survivors struggle to establish safe and healthy sexual relationships after abuse. Many women respond to trauma with sex out of need for intimacy, or because they just don't know how to establish meaningful relationships in any other way. Not only are the hyper-sexual more likely to face relationship abuse or health concerns like sexually transmitted diseases, they are more likely to have their experiences of abuse pushed aside because "if they were really abused, they wouldn't be sluts." That can make it more intimidating to seek help.

We also don't talk about the "ugly" mental illnesses that have ties to sexual abuse, like Borderline Personality Disorder, that can manifest behavior outside of what we consider the "typical" behavior of a sexual assault victim. People with mental illness are often deemed as "attention seekers" whose testimonies shouldn't be taken seriously. That makes it incredibly difficult to find help or even friends to tell.

Stripes always make me happy🖤

A post shared by BELLA (@bellathorne) on

It can be a challenge to feel worthy of safety and personality and happiness

They are slut-shamed and harassed because many people don't realize everyone copes with abuse differently. Think about it: society has slut-shamed Bella Thorne for how she copes everyday with her experiences. First they did it because they didn't know she was a survivor. But now they do it because she isn't the "perfect" survivor.

Bella and every survivor deserves to feel validated in how they live their lives. Every survivor should be given the encouragement and love they deserve. When Forbes asked Bella if she regretted her decision to post on social media, she says she did until she talked to her manager.

😋😋😋😋

A post shared by BELLA (@bellathorne) on

"I called my manager, Thor, and I told him, 'Look at my tweet. Is it bad?' And he said, 'No Bella. There’s nothing bad about this. This is good. You are no less of a person because this has happened to you.' And that was like one of the first times someone actually said that to me, since it happened, and it really meant the world to me."

Before we slut shame or call a woman an "attention whore," we should realize each "slut" is a person with a story that doesn't make her less worthy than anyone else. Bella should've been assured of that a long time ago.

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