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What Snapchat’s Insensitivity to Domestic Violence Means

TW: domestic violence

Earlier this week, Snapchat distastefully and ignorantly approved of an ad that joked about domestic violence. It asked users a would you rather question that sparked massive backlash. Here’s the original ad:

(source: https://twitter.com/TheRoyceMann/status/973070617821007872/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theverge.com%2F2018%2F3%2F15%2F17124472%2Fsnapchat-advertisement-domestic-violence-rihanna-chris-brown)

Regardless of the fact that Rihanna herself is a survivor of domestic violence, trying to make a joke out of the scenario of slapping Rihanna or punching Chris Brown is extremely wrong and disappointing. It’s not a game. This is a serious issue that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced in their lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Moreover, this means that the viewers who saw this ad could very well be a survivor of physical violence and seeing this ad could trigger past memories or send a message that downplays the emotional trauma that abuse brings to a person’s life.

It’s also not okay to ‘joke’ about this subject because it then contributes to a culture that doesn’t take domestic violence seriously.

Snapchat has a big voice and the content it shares should be weighed heavily. This ad was approved by a room of people, not only the Would You Rather mobile app team but also Snapchat. It passed two rounds of people who saw no issue with it until Rihanna spoke out.

She took to Instagram to speak out against the ad:


Snapchat then apologized, dropped the Would You Rather game from it’s platform, lost $800 million, and their stock went down 4%.

It’s never okay to joke about this subject. If you or someone you know wants resources, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or visit www.ndvh.org. There are also local resources to check out like True North of Columbia, MO at (573)875-0503. You are not alone.

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