Months After #MeToo, Millions Still Searching Online For Help Against Sexual Violence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John W. Ayers, PhD, MA Vice Chief of Innovation | Assoc. Professor Div. Infectious Disease & Global Public Health University of California San Diego

Dr. Ayers

John W. Ayers, PhD, MA
Vice Chief of Innovation | Assoc. Professor
Div. Infectious Disease & Global Public Health
University of California San Diego

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: The greatest barrier to understanding trends around sexual violence is they are largely hidden because victims are unable speak up publicly.

Moreover, ongoing monitoring relies on proxies that underreport the
scale of the problem such as police or medical records where only the
most severe instances or a fraction of all instances of sexual
violence are represented. As a result, we know very little about the
scale of America’s sexual violence problem.

It was this backdrop that inspired #MeToo to call on victims to
publicly voice their stories thereby revealing the scale of the
problem. Our goal was to, for the first time, assess how this change
inspired the public to engage with sexual violence issues.

By tracking private aggregate internet search query trends we can
begin to understand the scale of public engagement with issues around
sexual violence including the precise motivation for a search, such as
reporting episodes of sexual violence or learning how to prevent
sexual violence.

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