Sixteen-year-old Jada endured two assaults. The Houston teenager was allegedly drugged and raped at a party last month. Then last week photos of the assault went viral—which is the only way she found out about her rape. People mimicked her on social media with the hashtag #jadapose, posing like unconscious, barely clothed rape victims. (Most of the photos have been reported and taken down.)
Her story is sickeningly common: The alleged assault happened at a high school house party, where she was offered a drink, possibly laced with a drug. She woke up hours later, underwear on backwards. Then her story gets unusual: She became an unwilling celebrity when photos of her unconscious body emerged on social media, initially Tweeted by her accused assailants.
But instead of running scared, Jada fought back. And that’s when her story becomes amazing. She harnessed social media to reclaim her voice, Tweeting this searing image:
#Jadapose was drowned out by the outrage of thousands, who Tweeted their solidarity. If any good can come of her ordeal, it’s that Jada has become a role model for other survivors and supporters.
And Jada didn’t stop there. She went on national television to tell her story. “Everybody had seen my face and my body, but that’s not what I am or who I am,” she said.
Jada took control. She refused to hide. She refused to succumb to the shaming culture of silence. In doing so, she became more than a survivor—she became a symbol of resilience and bravery. After going public with her outrage and her image, here’s how the Twitter story changed:
Sharing her truth in the face of so much ugliness, the world would be a better place with more Jadas in it. #iamjada
— MakeHerWay (@MakeHerWay) July 20, 2014
Rape isn’t funny and rape culture is not a joke. This young woman is brave. #IAmJada http://t.co/3ZeNFSmU5V
— Ashley (@IAmAMoni) July 14, 2014
Why is Sexual Assault the only crime where the victim is blamed, shamed, bullied, harassed, and laughed at? #IamJada
— Stephanie Bridges (@i_spat) July 14, 2014
Social media can be used for good #iamjada #speakup4allwomen pic.twitter.com/oNahl4revE
— Mera Corlett (@mscorlett) July 14, 2014
I stand with Jada b/c when someone violates you, they’re the ones who should be ashamed. #IAmJada — Kaye Powers (@powkaye) July 14, 2014
Arrest Jada’s attackers. Stand up to the #jadapose scum. Fight rape culture. @RonanFarrow #IAMJADA #JusticeForJada #YesAllWomen — Michael Clarkson (@m_clarkson78) July 14, 2014
Because rape is never funny and the media should stop making excuses for rapists #IamJada #JusticeforJada — Joey Cross (@JoeyCross7) July 19, 2014
Photo: #jadapose it’s nothing funny about #rape what If it was your mother, sister or whoever would it… http://t.co/u5vbJ1atyn — Tommy McDuffie (@tumtummac24) July 14, 2014
Really happy to see #jadapose completely taken over by people offering positive reinforcement to Jada and condemning rape culture — Mackenzie Keefe (@macklekeefe) July 12, 2014
Social media can be frightening and lawless, but it can also be a source of tremendous support. Jada got the last word.
Now we know the #Jadapose is one of confidence and strength.
As for Jada? Even though her example will go on to inspire thousands of other survivors, this moment won’t define her. As she told MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow, she plans to work in a crime lab one day.