@MassGov tweet: 'All sexual assaults are avoidable' causes social media uproar

Mass.gov Director: "We in no way meant to suggest that victims of sexual assault are to blame for the crimes committed against them."
By JC Sevcik  |  May 1, 2014 at 6:23 PM
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BOSTON, May 1 (UPI) -- Geoff Kula, the director of Mass.gov, the official website of the state of Massachusetts and its government, issued a formal apology to victims of sexual assault Thursday for an offensive tweet posted to the site’s official Twitter feed the evening prior.

On Wednesday night around 10:40 p.m. @MassGov tweeted: “sexual assault is always avoidable.” to its more than 36,000 followers, along with a link to a Health and Human Services blog post. The tweet, which caused an outcry on social media, was taken down around 9 a.m. Thursday, and Mr. Kula tweeted a four-part apology soon after.

“I deeply regret the message sent last night regarding sexual assault and apologize to all sexual assault victims,” Mr. Kula said.

In a statement on the Mass.gov website, Kula explains: “There is an editorial gatekeeper who reviews all social media content to ensure consistency in messaging, including appropriateness, tone and voice. In this instance, the author of the sexual assault awareness tweet did not send this tweet to the editorial gatekeeper for review, and instead scheduled the tweet independently.”

He goes on to add: “Having spoken with the author this morning, it is clear there was no malicious intent behind the tweet. The tweet author agrees that perpetrators of sexual assault are always at fault, and it was never the author’s intent to blame victims for crimes perpetrated.”

Kula said the author will participate in sexual assault awareness training and all current and future content authors will be briefed on proper editorial procedures.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, D, was quoted as saying: “It was a stupid comment that certainly does not reflect the views of this administration or my own.”

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