The director of the Massachusetts State Government website, Mass.gov, has issued an apology after the tweet, "sexual assault is always avoidable", was posted on the website's official Twitter account, @MassGov.
The original message, which was posted just as America's Sexual Assault Awareness month drew to a close, prompted an angry backlash on Twitter, with many accusing @MassGov for victim blaming and calling for the post to be deleted.
In response to the tweet, which has now been deleted, one woman wrote, "The only person to blame for rape is the rapist"'.
The director of Mass.gov, Geoff Kula, said in a statement on Thursday that there was "no malicious intent behind the tweet".
"The tweet inaccurately summarized the content in the linked-to blog post, which discussed services available for victims of sexual assault," continued Kula. "The tweet author agrees that perpetrators of sexual assault are always at fault, and it was never the author’s intent to blame victims for crimes perpetrated."
Kula also issued a statement across a series of tweets:
(2/4) I deeply regret the message sent last night regarding sexual assault and apologize to all sexual assault victims.— Mass.gov (@MassGov) May 1, 2014
(3/4) We in no way meant to suggest that victims of sexual assault are to blame for the crimes committed against them.— Mass.gov (@MassGov) May 1, 2014
In his statement, Kula added, "There is an editorial gatekeeper who reviews all social media content to ensure consistency in messaging, including appropriateness, tone and voice. In this instance, the author of the sexual assault awareness tweet did not send this tweet to the editorial gatekeeper for review, and instead scheduled the tweet independently."
Kula concluded by saying, "The author has agreed to participate in sexual assault awareness training".
The Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, said "It was a stupid mistake," to American TV channel FOX 25. "Sometimes stupid mistakes happen and I appreciate very much the head of Mass.gov taking responsibility for it, and issuing an apology and I apologize as well."
(Additional image: Rex Features)