HEARTH’s open letter to Snapchat

An open letter to Snapchat,

This week HEARTH has been busy preparing for our fundraiser, ‘Hops for HEARTH.’ This event is put on by our Associate Board, a group of passionate and dedicated young professionals from the Greater Pittsburgh Area. This enthusiastic group of volunteers keeps HEARTH moving forward with the times, specifically utilizing various social media platforms to spread our message, “A Safe Place Matters.” HEARTH staff, our Board of Directors, and our Associate Board were absolutely appalled when we woke up this past Friday to see the news regarding Snapchat’s inability to police their ads. HEARTH was hoping that more than an apology would have been done by now. We will not be using a Snapchat filter or their app at this Friday’s event.

HEARTH takes this negligence very seriously. The ad for the new “Would You Rather” app, which referenced the 2009 domestic violence case regarding Rihanna and Chris Brown should have never made it past Snapchat’s screening process. We are asking that Snapchat work with agencies that serve domestic violence survivors to re-evaluate acceptable terms used in this process in accordance with those organizations’ verbiage. A public apology is not enough; apologies are what domestic violence victims hear from their abusers every day. HEARTH calls on Snapchat to do more. “Snap Chat reaches and has influence over a lot of young teens and adults so they should know better than to send out such a terrible message with that ad” – Kristen Moss, HEARTH Associate Board Secretary.

We ask that Snapchat recognize this egregious error by donating to and supporting causes that aid domestic violence victims. There are a plethora of measures we ask Snapchat take to become a leader in the fight for domestic violence survivors:

  1. Set up a scholarship fund that helps prior victims apply for and enter schooling or job training.
  2. Free advertisement for organizations like HEARTH that build up survivors.
  3. Partner with organizations on their social media platforms on key messages geared at eliminating the stigma many survivors face as well as promoting next steps for survivors once they leave their abuser.

“Mistakes happen. This “Would You Rather” ad was obviously a mistake.  BUT, an apology is not enough.  We call on Snapchat to back up their words with actions – support survivors of Domestic Violence and give this subject the dignity it deserves”  – Judith Eakin, HEARTH executive director.

Most importantly, we also ask that they refuse to support the “Would You Rather” app, their developers, and those associated in the future.  “Domestic violence is not funny.  It is never okay to hurt another person and it is never appropriate to position a prior domestic violence situation as a joke in a game” – Mike DiChiazza, HEARTH President, Board of Directors.

HEARTH would like to thank Rihanna for standing up to Snapchat and for continuing to support and bring light to other domestic violence survivors like the women living at HEARTH. It is very easy to talk the talk, but we have found it is much harder for companies like Snapchat to walk the walk. We hope that Snapchat will take our outrage as a community seriously and strive to support causes that improve the lives of women, not further endanger them.