How a “Grey’s Anatomy” episode led to a big spike in sexual assault awareness – Axios

Grey's Anatomy
An episode of "Grey's Anatomy" that focused attention on sexual assault and how to seek help is linked to a large jump in internet and Twitter searches on the topic and — even more importantly — greater call volume to a help hotline, per a study out Monday. Why it matters: In America, roughly 18% of women and 1% of men experience rape, leading to long-term and sometimes severe health consequences. Only 23% of sexual assault crimes are reported. But media could — and some say should — focus more attention on available resources to encourage viewers to get the help they need, the researchers say. "Media outlets need to be acutely aware of the level of reach and effect they potentially have." — Trevor Torgerson, study co-author, to Axios Background: The episode, called "Silent All These Years, " first aired on March 28. It showcases a female trauma patient whom a doctor suspects had been sexually assaulted, reviving the doctor's own personal experiences with domestic abuse. The show focuses on how an ideal medical setting would treat such a patient. It includes a talk between a male doctor and his stepson on consent, ....


Plus, looked at tweets referencing @RAINN. Contacted RAINN to determine call volume the 48 hours after the airing. Developed an algorithm to forecast expected search and tweet volumes for the same period if the episode hadn't aired. What they found: Engagements with the @RAINN Twitter account and tweets mentioning “Sexual Assault Hotline” increased by over 1000% the day after the episode was released, per Torgerson. "More importantly, the RAINN hotline saw their call volume increase by 43% in the 48 hours after the episode, " says Torgerson, who's a medical student at Oklahoma State University. "These findings are important as it displays another way for the media and involved parties to reach survivors of sexual violence who may not be aware of the resources otherwise, " he adds. What they're saying: John Ayers, a computational epidemiologist at UC San Diego who was not part of the study, tells Axios this is an important study because it "is getting public health leaders more connected to main street." "Public health has become a top down elite driven system where leaders assume they already know what the health needs and priorities are for the public. This study identifies what the public is organically ....

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