#sendeanlat (#tellyourstory): Text Analyses of Tweets About Sexual Assault Experiences

Abstract

On 11 February 2015, a 20-year-old university student, Ozgecan Aslan, was violently murdered in an attempted rape in Mersin, southern Turkey. This event led to a mass Twitter protest in the country. Women across the country started sharing the hashtag #sendeanlat (“#tellyourstory” in English). In the current exploratory study, 164,279 original tweets were analyzed using the text analytic approach called the Meaning Extraction Method. Results revealed the key themes of reactions to victim blaming, honor culture/namus, assault experiences, social media, and women’s responsibility. Policy, media, and mental-health-related implications and future research directions are discussed.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    We observed that, although we excluded the retweets, there were some impactful tweets that individuals decided to partially copy. For example, a tweet could be copied with similar/exact wording yet different punctuation. Given the size of the current dataset, it is unlikely that such tweets will impact the results. Furthermore, it is to the users’ discretion to copy a tweet as their own without retweeting. It would also be not logistically feasible to separate such tweets given the amount of data we have. Furthermore, it would be an ambiguous methodological cutoff to exclude tweets that repeat the same words with slight changes, and perhaps counter-productive towards the purpose of studying broad social movements.

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Correspondence to Elif G. Ikizer.

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Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The data we extracted from Twitter is public. Therefore, as advised by the University of Connecticut Ethics Board, we did not obtain an IRB approval for this study. There was no informed consent as we used the data that is already publicly available.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Appendix Most frequently used words

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Ikizer, E.G., Ramírez-Esparza, N. & Boyd, R.L. #sendeanlat (#tellyourstory): Text Analyses of Tweets About Sexual Assault Experiences. Sex Res Soc Policy 16, 463–475 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-018-0358-5

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Keywords

  • Language analysis
  • Twitter
  • Social media
  • Turkey
  • Rape
  • Assault