The director of the State of Massachusetts' official website issued an apology on Thursday morning amid backlash prompted by a tweet that said "sexual assault is always avoidable."
The tweet, which went out on Wednesday night and was deleted on Thursday morning, generated a firestorm of criticism on Twitter from people who said it placed blame on sexual assault victims. The tweet was sent out as part of an effort to promote Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
"Oh yeah? Don't you think if it was avoidable it wouldn't happen?" said Tina St. Gelais Kelly on Twitter in response to the state's tweet.
"Wow ignorance to the highest degree," added Kenny Jervis.
Geoff Kula, director of Mass.gov, issued an apology on Twitter on Thursday morning.
"I deeply regret the message sent last night regarding sexual assault and apologize to all sexual assault victims," he said. "We in no way meant to suggest that victims of sexual assault are to blame for the crimes committed against them."
The state Department of Health and Human Services, which was referenced in the tweet, denied any responsibility for it, saying "This is not an HHS Tweet" and noting that the account is not operated by the agency.
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