Massachusetts officials apologize for sexual assault tweet

The controversial tweet sparked angry feedback from the state website's roughly 36,100 followers. Photo: Twitter/screenshot
The controversial tweet sparked angry feedback from the state website’s roughly 36,100 followers. Photo: Twitter/screenshot

The director of the state website that on Wednesday tweeted that “sexual assault is always avoidable” apologized Thursday in a four-part tweet sent by the @massgov handle.

Geoff Kula, director of mass.gov, said about 10 a.m. that a tweet sent out at 10:17 p.m. the night before “in no way meant to suggest that victims of sexual assault are to blame for the crimes committed against them.”

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

The controversial tweet in question, which remained on the state’s Twitter timeline for 11 hours before being deleted, said, “Sexual assault is always avoidable. Learn more from @Mass_HHS: [ ow.ly/vHl2S]#SAAMhttp://t.co/jpECjaqigB — Mass.gov (@MassGov) May 01, 2014

It was meant to promote Sexual Assault Awareness month, which begins today.

An explanation of how the questionable tweet came to be was later given on Mass.gov’s blog Thursday. It read:

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. Having spoken with the author this morning, it is clear there was no malicious intent behind the tweet; the tweet inaccurately summarized the content in the linked-to blog post, which discussed services available for victims of sexual assault.

The author, who was not named, also agreed to participate in sexual assault awareness training, Kula said.

The comment sparked angry feedback from the state website’s roughly 36,100 followers, with many voicing outrage that the comment seemed to put the responsibility of avoiding rape and assault on would-be victims rather than the offenders.

Twitter user Amy Deveau tweeted she was “disgusted with @MassGov‘s tweet. I bet you think survivors were asking for it & didn’t try hard enough to get away…”

User @Patoo2 said, “@MassGov @Mass_HHS this has to be one of the stupidest statements I have EVER read – you should be ashamed this came from your govt office!”

Gov. Deval Patrick also condemned the message, telling Fox 25, “It was stupid.”

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Executive Director Gina Scaramella said it was “really unfortunate [the tweet] was put out there, but we don’t believe it’s a symptom of the administration’s beliefs.”

“I do think we have bigger fish to fry than this, but I’m glad that people spoke up and they’re holding this person accountable,” said Scaramella.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Subway riders call for fair fares on G…

Subway riders, activists and elected officials called on the MTA Wednesday to continue to offer riders a free transfer between the Broadway G train and the Lorimer stop of the…

Local

Marshals, cops arrest fugitive after shootout in Queens

Federal authorities arrested a fugitive hiding out in Queens after he shot at U.S. Marshals and officers with the New York City Police Department.

Breaking: National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

News

Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Movies

Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.

Music

Tiesto headlines Made in America

Electronic music legend Tiesto is ready to get in touch with his inner Rocky at the Jay Z-curated Budweiser Made in America festival this weekend…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Career

Stop eating lunch at your desk

What are you doing for lunch today? If you are like most workers, you'll be eating at your desk - which isn't much of a…

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.