‘Grey’s Anatomy’ episode about sexual assault spurs 40 percent spike in hotline calls: study


A “Grey’s Anatomy” episode from earlier this year that focused on sexual assault spurred a more than 40 percent spike in calls to a hotline spotlighted by the ABC drama, research released this week said.

In the 48 hours after the episode, titled “Silent All These Years,” aired March 28, calls to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) sexual assault hotline jumped 43 percent, according to a study published Monday by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Tweets mentioning the RAINN Twitter account and the words “sexual assault hotline” increased by more than 1,000 percent, and searches for the word “rape” went up by 8 percent in the day after the episode aired, according to the study, which used Google Trends and RAINN data in its reporting.

“Increasing accurate portrayals of sexual assault in the media, coupled with increased awareness of organizations similar to RAINN, may positively affect public health,” the study said.

The “Grey’s Anatomy” episode featured a female patient who, doctors learn, faced domestic abuse and was sexually assaulted. In treating the patient, doctors help to make her feel safe, and the episode gives viewers an in-depth perspective of how rape kits are collected and administered.

At the end of the episode, Ellen Pompeo — who plays leading character Dr. Meredith Grey — gave a public service announcement, providing viewers with the number for RAINN.

On the night that the episode aired, the Grey’s Anatomy Twitter account also tweeted information about the RAINN hotline, writing, “You don’t have to go through this alone.”

Tags abuse and Incest National Network grey's anatomy hotline Rape Sexual assault Sexual misconduct
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