Twitter storm over the naming of a rape survivor

BuzzFeed’s Jessica Testa did a story about rape survivors who tweeted out what they had been wearing when they were assaulted. The women were responding on Twitter and were encouraged to do so by @steenfox. According to Kelly McBride of Poynter: “The results were rather spectacular.Some were in college when they were assaulted. Others were children. The precise details of their memories – pink pajamas, or peep-toe flats – provided a window into the insidious nature of rape.”

But Testa was assailed, even though her story noted that she obtained permission from survivors to use their tweets and honored their requests to blur out names and/or faces. @steenfox challenged Testa for failing to get permission from her. @steenfox didn’t identify herself as a survivor in two tweets that asked others to share their stories.

McBride supported Testa on Poynter, saying this:

“These are healthy conversations to have. But it’s unfortunate that some folks are condemning Testa. It doesn’t really look like she did anything wrong.
Confusion over how to identify rape survivors and tell their stories keeps many reporters from tackling the subject. This reaction stokes those concerns.”

McBride ended up creating her own firestorm – and was forced to issue this mea culpa. And even that didn’t seem to placate angered Twitter followers.

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