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'Sexual assault is always avoidable' tweet on Mass. account causes stir

A tweet released on Massachusetts' official Twitter account that said sexual assault is "avoidable" was an accident and the author will undergo awareness training, the head of the Mass.gov website says.

Executive Director Geoffrey Kula said in a blog post that Wednesday's tweet was not intended to be malicious. He said it went out without going through the editorial review process, which ensures that content is appropriate.

Kula tweeted an apology Thursday that said: "We in no way meant to suggest that victims of sexual assault are to blame for the crimes committed against them."

The tweet read: "Sexual assault is always avoidable." It was released late Wednesday to mark the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and some online comments described it as ignorant and insensitive. The tweet was taken down Thursday morning.

In a statement Thursday, Gov. Deval Patrick described the tweet as "a dumb mistake." He said it did not represent his or his administration's views.

"Victims of sexual assault are in no way responsible for these crimes; the perpetrators are," Patrick said.

Gina Scaramella, executive director at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, said the wording implied that there was something the victim could have done to avoid being sexually assaulted. "But it sounds like someone made a mistake and meant to say 'preventable' not 'avoidable,'" Scaramella said.

Kula said he spoke to the author of the tweet and that person agreed that victims of sexual assault are never at fault.

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