There’s no good reason we should know the name of 16-year-old Jada.
The only reason we do is that after she was drugged and raped at a party of a fellow high school student in Houston, her assault went viral–a phrase I hope to never have occasion to write ever again. Jada had no idea what happened to her that night until she started seeing images and videos being passed around on social media and got texts from friends asking if she was ok. Then–with almost unimaginable callousness–her peers started mocking her assault by posting images of themselves lying on the floor in the same pose as Jada’s unconscious body under the hashtag #jadapose. (I will not be linking to any of them.)
— dramaqueen22872 (@dramaqueen22872) July 9, 2014
Jada decided to speak out to a local news outlet, saying she’s angry and hopes the police–who are currently investigating–make an arrest soon. I have so much respect for Jada’s brave decision to tell her story and demand justice, but I also want to acknowledge that this “choice” to come forward was hardly a free one. As she explained in her interview, her story is already out there. “There’s no point in hiding. Everybody has already seen my face and my body, but that’s not what I am and who I am.” Jada is fighting like hell to reclaim her narrative–to present herself as a person rather than a meme–but that’s something no 16-year-old–no human being–should have to do.
— Amanda (@N3rd_Love) July 9, 2014
On Twitter, the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault suggested tweeting images that challenge rape culture and show support for Jada under the hashtag #jadacounterpose. I’d say that’s the very least we can do for a girl who never chose this attention.
Jada, we stand with you.
— taasa (@taasa) July 9, 2014
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.