Sexual Assault Poster on FacebookPresentation Transcript
Managing Passion During Debate on a Heated Topic SOCIAL MEDIA SNAPSHOT
Background: At the insistence of SAPR, Navy repurposed an externally created provocative poster on Sexual Assault Prevention to the Navy Facebook page, in hopes of raising awareness and to generate discussion.
The poster was found on the Slutwalk Austin Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/SlutWalk-Austin/179600278757409 Slutwalk Austin is a non-profit organization whose mission is to “condemn a victim-blaming culture, to empower victims and survivors of sexual violence and to promote the involvement of the community to keep its members safe and bring an end to sexual violence. Sexual violence is NEVER justified... and victims are NEVER at fault. The use of the word “slut” in the name of the walk is intentional. It is not a celebration of “slut”, but rather a challenge to the use of the word as a weapon against women and as a justification for their victimization.”
Immediately, there were passionate and divided comments pouring in from fans about the poster
Many thought it was funny, “dumb,” or a joke
Others were outraged
A few recognized the tone and intent
Navy engaged in the commentary to add clarity to the intent of the post
Debate continued both in the thread and comments directly to the Navy wall.
Navy SAPR viewed this poster as direct, to-the-point and impactful. The goal was to get the audience’s attention and generate meaningful discussion. The post was successful in generating a great deal of discussion; however, not all fans viewed the poster as productive. The post also presented an opportunity to connect Navy SAPR resources to affected Navy personnel. One Navy Fan, a former Sailor, commented that he had been sexually assaulted while in the Navy and reported it last year to a sexual assault therapist, but there hadn’t been any follow-up. Navy SAPR personnel were alerted and are in the process of having a local SARC reach him offline.
When sufficient interest/discussion has seen its course, Navy lightened the mood and shifted the conversation on the page by posting a classic fan favorite video. RESULTS: Within 15 minutes there were over 75 positive, pro-Navy comments and 248 likes of the video. The video went on to be the top content of the week with 993 likes and 241 comments. The debate about the sexual assault prevention tips slowed to a stop throughout the rest of the day.
Fans were just as passionate about the video as they were about the poster…
Frame of Reference. The content in the poster was in context on SlutWalkproperty, but too far afield for the Navy Audience.
It may have been better suited as a training poster to discuss with Sailors in small groups.
The Navy could have referred to the blog where the poster originated and add more context.
Approaching SAPR on social media is problematic, so consider whether or if a particular social media platform is the best platform to have that debate
Ensure that on topics such as SAPR that are controversial and conflicting we keep the Newsdesk informed on potentially provocative posts and remain prepared to answer media questions on the purpose of posted content.
Allow passionate discussion to play out on the page as long as community members are abiding by community rules
Do not panic and take drastic action such as deleting the provocative post It will only exacerbate the situation. “Measure twice before you post.”
Re-direct conversation when it becomes unproductive and/or apparent that there is no resolution to the discussion in the near future on this particular platform