A Hashtag That Made a Change…. #IamJada

Jada, a 16 year old Houston-area girl, was living a seemingly normal life. She spent her time at work and hanging out with friends. On June 1st, her life was drastically changed. She was going to a friends house to attend a party. While she recalls little of the evening, she remembers that she passed out and woke up the next morning puzzled and with her clothing all over the room. Confused, she went home and thought nothing of it. A few weeks later she found out that there was photos taken of her at the party. These photos soon found their way to social media outlets, with people on twitter mimicking her pose when she was passed out with the hashtag #jadapose.

Jada’s family filed a police report on June 22. While they waited, Jada decided to do something astonishing. Instead of hiding in embarrassment from the new trending twitter hashtag #jadapose, she took to public forms to shine light on the incident. “There’s no point in hiding it,” she told one television station “Everybody has already seen my face and my body, but that’s not who I am.”

She was being stigmatized and bullied online, which was very hard for her. While the messages are virtual, the effect they have on Jada is not. In the following weeks, thousands of messages of support came in through social media outlets all around the world.

In solodarity with Jada, people took to social media with the hashtag #IamJada and their fist in the air in order to raise awarness about her story. Rape culture has become increasingly prevelant in our society today and this was vital in ending this.

 

Even celeberties such as Jada Pickett Smith and Krystal Ball posted on their Facebook and twitter accounts to help support the young girl.

“With the case of Jada, the very technology that was used to make matters worse was used to improve matters,” said Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute. “Teens need to understand that their online behavior has lasting and permanent impacts,” Jim Steyer, a father of four and CEO of Common Sense Media, wrote in an e-mail.

Since the events occurred, 2 young men have been arrested for sexual assault. The 19 year-old was tried as an adult and the 16 year-old tried as a juvenile. You can read the story of their arrest by clicking here.

Clinton Onyeahialam, 19, is charged with sexual assault in connection with the alleged rape of Jada

Jada’s story is important for the nation to hear. It shows what can happen if people take a stand and fight back, especially using social media and hash tags to start a movement. Jada choose to speak out, despite the possible repercussions. She decided that rape culture is too common, and cyber bulling is unacceptable. Through the use of her story, Jada made a difference. “Yes, I feel like a heroine, because it takes courage to speak out and show your face, ” she said.

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