A long-running high school football rivalry in Northeast Ohio may have gone a step -- or four or five -- too far on Tuesday when teens from one of the schools used an "inappropriate" Twitter hashtag attached to their forthcoming opponent so often that it landed on the regional trending topics list for everyone in the area to see.
As first reported by Stow Patch and AkronNewsNow.com, Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio) High fans began tweeting messages about Friday's upcoming football game against longtime neighbor and rival school Stow (Ohio) High with the rather offensive hashtag #rapestow. While the hashtag may have started as the byproduct of simple overzealous fandom on the part of a select few fans of the Cuyahoga Falls football team, which is pictured above, it quickly gained momentum and was a Twitter "trending topic" throughout multiple parts of Ohio by Tuesday afternoon.
Given the implicit content of tweets connected to the hashtag, the fact that the hashtag makes light of the horrors of rape, Cuyahoga Falls Principal Anne Alfano was quick to react. According to Stow Patch, the principal made an announcement at the school on Tuesday afternoon pleading with her student body to stop using the #rapestow hashtag.
Instead, that announcement only seemed to fan the flames of the #rapestow social media movement, as the offensive Twitter tag reached as high as the No. 3 trending topic in Northeast Ohio just before rush hour on Tuesday.
In fact, the official backlash against #rapestow led some students to tweet and re-tweet messages that listed the tag multiple times, all as a way to drive up its visibility.
Here's one very excitable example of that phenomenon, from a Twitter user just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday:
Sowwy im gonna keep saying it because it pisses them off #rapestow #rapestow #rapestow #rapestow #rapestow #rapestow#rapestow #rapestow LOL
While that tweet may have taken the cake for most gratuitous usage of the #rapestow hashtag, others used it both to defend or attack students who were using it.
sorry stow but telling mrs.alfano on us isnt gonna make it stop #rapestow
With days still remaining before the two teams finally face off on Friday night, there is plenty of time for the bad blood between them to boil over further. Until then, all anyone can hope for is a greater sense of awareness from Cuyahoga Falls students and fans, who should know that sexual assault is hardly a trivial matter befitting a simple high school rivalry.