#SupportJada because it takes a village

Thank-you-memeIt takes a village to do a lot of things. To raise a child, to build a community, to define a culture. In Jada’s case, we’re talking about rape culture. Late last week as we followed a troubling display of digital abuse on Twitter, it reminded us of the Steubenville case. A young person disclosed sexual violence, the alleged perpetrator posted pictures online, and a group of peers blamed and harassed the alleged victim on social media. 

One of the most troubling things about this case is the way the village responded. They discounted Jada’s experience and instead spouted harmful misconceptions about rape victims and women in general. When the alleged perpetrator posted pictures parodying the images he posted of Jada, the village started a hashtag and followed suit. You can’t tell me that social approval for violent actions doesn’t give a potential perpetrator of violence a social license to operate

Alternatively, one of the most inspiring things about this case is the way the village responded! The Twitterverse flooded the #Jadapose hashtag with messages of support, information about rape culture and supporting survivors, and counter messages using #SupportJada and #JadaCounterPose just to name a few. A number of folks even contacted us and other national organizations through email and social media to share information, sample tweets, and ask for help countering this message. 

It takes a village to build a rape culture, but it also takes a village to break it down. We opted to share some fact sheets on the impact of technology on youth, news stories that provided a counter-narrative, and some revived blog posts from our Steubenville case coverage and tips on interrupting social media misogyny. You can do the same, and join us in breaking down rape culture by showing Jada and victims everywhere that that village won’t tolerate this behavior. 

Time and again, just when I think I’ve lost faith in humanity, the universe reminds me that there is a tide of activists who band together to prevent sexual violence and provide a thoughtful, affirming response to the people who experience it. Thank you for all you do to interrupt violence. Thank you for the people like Jada who have the bravery and strength to tell their stories. Thank you for rewriting the narrative of a rape culture.

 

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