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Mass. Official Apologizes for Tweet on Sexual Assault

BOSTON (WGGB) — State officials have apologized for a tweet sent out late Wednesday regarding sexual assault cases.

Wednesday night, in an effort to highlight Sexual Abuse Awareness Month, a tweet went out on the state’s Mass.Gov Twitter feed that read “Sexual assault is always avoidable” and included a link for more information from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

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The tweet was removed around 9:00 a.m. Thursday – some 12 hours after it was posted – but not before dozens of Twitter users voiced their opinions.

About an hour after the tweet was removed, Geoff Kula, Director of Mass.Gov, tweeted an apology, but later released a full statement explaining what happened saying:

The Mass.gov team has several content authors who create tweets and blog posts. Our aim is to tweet about each secretariat daily, and authors sometimes “pre-schedule” content on a weekly basis to promote programs and services the state offers to its constituents. 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. 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 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. The author has agreed to participate in sexual assault awareness training.

All Mass.gov content authors have been reminded of the editorial process and going forward, no tweets will be published without first being run through this established review process.


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