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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

Abstract

In October 2017 millions of women shared their experiences with sexual assault and harassment via social media platforms as part of the #metoo movement. A surprising feature of the #metoo movement was womens’ openness to share these experiences on public forums including Twitter and Facebook. Few studies have explored the factors that led women to share their personal experiences. This proposed project will use qualitative in-depth interviews to: 1) describe the motivations of women leading them to share their experiences with sexual assault and/or harassment, and 2) elucidate how sharing these experiences on social media impacts upon their recovery and social connections with communities of similarly-impacted women. This study utilized a snowball sampling method to recruit fourteen women who have used social media to share their experiences with sexual assault through my own personal social networks, including online group memberships and affiliation with Greek organizations on campus. These interviews were all conducted in person or over the phone, audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for common themes. Women were interviewed from the U.S., Pakistan, Canada and Singapore. The interviews highlight several reasons which lead up to one sharing an experience on a social media platform, including factors such as lack of family support or seeing social media as a mechanism to release emotions in a new way. The results clarify why women might feel more comfortable sharing a potentially traumatic experience via online social media platforms rather than in-person between social confidants.

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