A Massachusetts official said a tweet released on the state's official Twitter account that said sexual assault is "avoidable" was an accident and had no malicious intent.
The tweet reading "Sexual assault is always avoidable," was released late Wednesday night to mark the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
People in the community called the tweet “horrendous” and “ridiculous.” Even Gov. Deval Patrick called it “stupid.”
The tweet came Wednesday night from an unidentified female contractor. Mass.gov said tweets go out at night when more people are home to see them. The day's state workers are gone for the day, which is why it wasn't deleted earlier.
The tweet was live for 11 hours, prompting @Boston2CapeCod to tweet back, “What a shameful, insulting statement from our government."
@TAVMCK wrote, “Seriously, no one proof-read this tweet and article for clarity before posting?"
Twitter users included hashtags such as "stop-victim-blaming," "ignorant," and "fail."
By Thursday morning, the tweet was deleted. The director of the website Mass.gov, Geoffrey Kula, tweeted an apology saying victims are not to blame.
"I deeply regret the message sent last night regarding sexual assault and apologize to all sexual assault victims. We in no way meant to suggest the victims are to blame for the crimes committed against them," he said
The executive director at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Gina Scaramella, said she assumes the tweet was a mistake and was intended to read "preventable" not "avoidable."
Kula said the contractor inaccurately summarized a blog that was part of sexual assault awareness month and posted the tweet without the required review.
"We all feel bad. This shouldn't have happened. It's an unfortunate, a terribly unfortunate incident,” Kula said.
“It was a stupid comment that certainly does not reflect of views of this administration or my own,” Gov. Patrick said.
Many twitter users are calling for the woman who posted the message to be fired. Mass.gov said She will keep her job but she will go through sexual assault awareness training.