In her photo she appears brave and even though she is only 16 years old and is considered a minor, she doesn’t want her face blurred. “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.”
The girl in the photo is named Jada and what happened to her is something no person should ever have to experience. Jada was at a party at a friend’s house when someone offered her a drink that she believes was spiked with a drug. Soon after, she passed out and couldn’t remember many details about the night but when she logged online the following day, she was horrified to find pictures and videos of her on social media forums. The graphic content depict Jada being raped while she is completely unconscious. As if things couldn’t get any worse for the young girl, some of her peers began to make a mockery of the tragedy that Jada endured by creating the hashtag #jadapose in which they pose with no bottoms on and lay lifeless on the ground and then share on social media.
The pure cruelty that comes from imitating something so devastating and personal leaves me feeling sick to my stomach. Something I read earlier keeps playing in my mind. It’s a quote from the other Jada (Pinkett- Smith). “[T]his could be you, or me, or any woman or girl that we know.” And it’s true. This could be my daughter’s face splashed on television screens in 13 years. What will I tell my daughter when she is ready to go to her first party? It is certainly unfair that I will even have to have such discussions with her but alas, this is the world we live in. I think she, and everyone, needs to know the importance of their words and how they can fuel rape culture. I hope she will know that all people deserve respect and no one should ever be shamed for living the way they do. More importantly, I believe, is raising my son to respect girls and women no matter what they are wearing on their body and to understand the meaning of the word “NO”. As a bystander, I think there is also a sense of responsibility to step in when you see something suspicious going on. In the end, there’s no surefire way to prevent rape but I think it is important to understand that drink or no drink, revealing clothes or not… The only person to blame is the rapist. What happened to Jada is abhorrent. How many more young girls are to be raped and shared on social media sites before we do something about it? Jada’s rapist is still walking free. When will rape allegations be handled more severely? When will we start protecting these girls instead of sweeping them under the rug?
Further reading: An extremely insightful article with information gathered from a Reddit thread in which rapists explain themselves.