Welcome to 2014, where sexual assault is met with memes and degrading hashtags. If you have little faith in humanity, stop reading now.
A young Houston woman is bravely speaking out after her rape turned viral. Last month, 16-year-old Jada was drugged and raped at a friend's house party and had no clue what had happened to her until pictures and videos of her assault appeared on social media. All she remembers is being given some punch by the party's host, a friend of a friend, that she believes was spiked.
I had no control. I didn’t tell anyone to take my clothes off and do what they did to me.
Seeing her rape appear online was bad enough, but then came the memes and hashtags making fun of the aftermath. #Jadapose became a thing where people were copying the position her unconscious body was in after she had been raped. They also began cyber bullying and rape shaming the high school junior, including the host of the party and alleged rapist, Innel Yahia, who previously had the Twitter account "WhiteBoyLaFlare." Before he deleted his account, he tweeted to Jada:
HOW ITS RAPE? YOU HAD 2 MONTHS TO SAY SOMETHING BUT YOU AINT SAY SH-T TILL YOU GET EXPOSED?
That hoe forced, snitched, and still look like afiend from deadend
Vine videos also emerged online mocking her rape, and when one of the creators of a popular #jadapose vine was tracked down by a reporter, he said he only made fun of her because it was 1:00am and he was bored.
We spoke with the creator of the vine, @FilthyDeee, via Twitter direct messages. He wouldn't speak to us in person, he said, because he was at work. He also wouldn't give us his real name.
He said he decided to post the vine early Tuesday morning, when he "was bored at 1a.m. and decided to wake up my (Twitter timeline)." He said he didn't know Jada personally.
This week, actress Keke Palmer also spoke out in defense of Jada in an interview with Hip Hollywood. The actress/talk show host says people need to be more mindful of what they put on social media:
This is why I talk a lot about social media stuff on the show because we make judgements, we make assumptions without knowing the full story. You see somebody, you're making fun of somebody...she didn't make that pose willingly. She was raped. She was being raped.
So people gotta think about the stuff they post. I understand what people think about social media, it seems like something fun and something chill, but everything you're doing is connected to everyone. I don't think people realize the power in that because it's just something that's thrown out there. They don't really realize what it can do. I think sometimes people really should think a lot more times before they tweet and before they post.
As of right now, Houston police are investigating Jada's claims, and although rape victims' identities aren't normally revealed in situations like this, she refused to hide in hopes that it will help someone else.
"Everybody knows,” said Jada. “And everybody’s texting me are you OK? You’re going to be OK, and I was like alright. There's no point in hiding,” she said. “Everybody has already seen my face and my body, but that’s not what I am and who I am.
“I’m just angry,” said Jada.
Her mother also revealed in an interview:
I said, 'Babygirl are you sure you want to show your face? She felt that her body was shown and was out there, she wanted to make a difference. So parents like myself could know that this is not right and something needs to be done. I couldn't believe that was my child. It was disgusting! I cried and immediately got up and made a report to the police. It was nothing I could say, all I could do was hold her.
My advice is to keep an open relationship with your child. Communication is very important. Build a relationship with your children and talk to them on a daily basis. I remember back in the day where we used to sit down as folks and eat dinner and have a conversation about 'How your day went.' Nowadays these kids bring in their cell phones, even parents to the table, put it down and get to know your children. Talk to them!
[Video] Interview with Jada's mom
[Video] Interview with Jada:
Has social media desensitized people that much that it's cool to take part in a hashtag that mocks a rape?
Prayers are up for Jada!