Massachusetts Government Tweets ‘Sexual Assault Is Always Avoidable’

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By Laura Bassett
s MASSACHUSETTS STATEHOUSE mini Massachusetts Government Tweets Sexual Assault Is Always Avoidable

The official Twitter account for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sent out a message on Wednesday that “sexual assault is always avoidable,” sparking outrage over the suggestion that rape victims could somehow have avoided being assaulted.

The tweet, which linked out to a blog post in honor of the state’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month, was taken down at 9 a.m. Thursday morning, 12 hours after it was first posted. Geoff Kula, director of the Massachusetts government’s website, issued a statement and a set of apologetic tweets.

(1/4) An apology from Geoff Kula, Director of

— (@MassGov) May 1, 2014

(2/4) I deeply regret the message sent last night regarding sexual assault and apologize to all sexual assault victims.

— (@MassGov) May 1, 2014

(3/4) We in no way meant to suggest that victims of sexual assault are to blame for the crimes committed against them.

— (@MassGov) May 1, 2014

(4/4) To learn more about what you can do to combat violence or if you need assistance, please see this blog:

— (@MassGov) May 1, 2014

In the statement, Kula blamed the controversial tweet on a staffer’s “failure to follow established procedures” for social media.

“Having spoken with the author [of the tweet] 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,” Kula said. “The author has agreed to participate in sexual assault awareness training.”

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