Trauma, social media, and #WhyIDidntReport: An analysis of twitter posts about reluctance to report sexual assault

Jason B. Whiting, Jaclyn Cravens Pickens, Abby Luthi Sagers, Morgan PettyJohn, Bria Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Recent social trends regarding sexual violence and gender have included elements of “hashtag activism,” which involves using social media tools for cultural awareness and change. For example, the Twitter hashtag: #WhyIDidntReport was created for survivors of sexual victimization to share their barriers to reporting. In this project, 600 tweets attached to this hashtag were analyzed using a combination of grounded theory and content analysis methods. Results were organized into a conceptual map, with a central category (power), connected to three other ecological categories (culture, community systems, and relationships) and one category of survivor experiences. Each category has subcategories which illustrate certain contextual and internal barriers to reporting assault. The model shows how these barriers intersect and interact, and often further traumatize those who have been assaulted. The model offers implications for professionals working with those who have survived sexual trauma, as well as those studying the dynamics of abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-766
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • abuse reporting
  • hashtag activism
  • sexual trauma
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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