From silence to #WhyIStayed: Locating our stories and finding our voices.

Melinda Weathers, James Sanderson, Alex Neal, Kelly Gramlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Domestic violence is a serious public health issue in the United States. In the digital age, social media platforms like Twitter provide users with the opportunity to anonymously share short, 140-character narratives. Following the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal, thousands of women took to Twitter to share their abuse stories using the hashtag #WhyIStayed. Building on existing domestic violence research, we conduct what is, to our knowledge, the first assessment of women utilizing Twitter to share their lived experiences with abusive relationships and reasons for staying. Findings revealed four themes: (lack of) resources, responsibility for abuse, fear, and gender-linked power. The results suggest that Twitter functions as a space where women can share lived experiences about domestic violence, which then fosters discussion about a stigmatized topic. Thus, Twitter functions as a connective mechanism where women can understand the lived experiences of domestic violence and access
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-67
JournalQualitative Research Reports in Communication
StatePublished - 2016

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