Prada has a strong body. Her front leg has centered since I adopted her, and proportionally, her core abdominal muscles pretty much make her Arnold Schwartzenegger. Her hindquarters have enough power to launch her up onto the couch. She can run fast enough to almost catch a rabbit. (And if that fence hadn't been there, she might have done it, too.)
But the fact remains that I am stronger. I walk in a perma-shuffle around my apartment so I don't accidentally step on her, because I could hurt her so very easily.
It bears repeating: I could hurt her. Easily.
Obviously, I don't. My strength and size does not give me the right to hurt those weaker and smaller than myself. Rather, I was always taught, and fully believe, that it is my duty as a decent human not only not to hurt those I could, but also to act decently towards others.
The lesson doesn't just apply to tiny, fluffy dogs that have been closer to euthanization than they ever deserved to be.
It applies to boys who play football who rape a girl. It applies to their peers, who stood by and did nothing. It applies to the adults in their lives, who either looked the other way or didn't teach these children what it means to be a decent, responsible human being. It applies to the media, irresponsible with their reporting. It applies to the people outside the situation who have used social media to harass and blame the victim. It applies to me, because I haven't spoken out earlier, more frequently, louder. It applies to you, because we are all part of this culture and society that allow this to happen, that allow some people to think any of the above behavior is acceptable.
We can do better. We can provide a good example of how to treat those weaker than us and those who are vulnerable. We can speak up when we see something that is wrong. We can talk openly and honestly to the young people in our lives. We can start difficult discussions. Why can ask "Why?" We can offer victims a safe place to talk, and we can listen. We can hold ourselves and others accountable. We can well and truly--each and every one of us--do something to create a different, better future, where we all are decent--and most importantly, safe.
Whether it's to the four-legged, three-legged, or two-legged, I challenge you this: Let's be better.
(True: If you don't think rape culture affects even the lucky people who haven't been assaulted, think again. And as always, be safe.)