A photo began making the rounds on social media on Tuesday from an unidentified woman accusing Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy of battering her friend.
McCoy released a statement on Tuesday vehemently denying the allegations.
Domestic abuse advocates urge caution before sharing images involving victims of domestic assault.
“You’re just in the middle of news feed, and all of a sudden a picture of a badly battered woman appears, and it’s startling, and disturbing.” said Alli O’Malley, CEO of Resolve, a domestic abuse treatment center.
O'Malley says this kind of photo, which may be shared with good intentions, can actually harm other victims of domestic assault.
“To see something like that, if you’ve been through something similar, can be really re-traumatizing.” O'Malley said.
She says social media has done great things to further the cause of domestic assault awareness.
“There’s much more conversation today about issues like domestic violence and sexual assault, which is a positive thing," O'Malley said. "The more we talk about it, the more we can address it. The more it stays hidden, the easier it is for the crimes to stay hidden.”
But she says context matters.
“I think what’s people want to share this story is not so much about the victim, it’s about who is being accused of perpetrating," said O'Malley. "That to me isn’t necessarily good for victims of domestic violence, and it’s not necessarily good in general.”
She says in cases like this, it’s important to be empathetic where photos can also be humiliating to the victim.
“Keep in mind that you don’t know who in your news feed has been touched by this experience, and how passing that information along could potentially be detrimental.” said O'Malley.
O’Malley says if you come across a photo on social media that does upset you, you can contact the Resolve hotline at (585) 425-1580.
For a full list of resources, visit www.resolve-roc.org
“It’s important to reach out to someone. If you’re seeing something on social media that is upsetting to you, reach out," O'Malley said. "Even if you’re not a direct victim and you want to know what to do to help someone else, you can still make a phone call.”