On October 15th, 2017, actor Alyssa Milano tweeted “#metoo” in solidarity with women coming forward with allegations of sexual assault against Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, stating that she too had experienced sexual violence. Since then, #metoo has seen unprecedented numbers of people participating in discussions across the globe, challenging the culture of silence that often envelopes sexual violence. To provide insight into how society discusses sexual violence, this study uses a multiple case study design involving three prominent hearings in which women give a victim impact statement or testimony: the Larry Nassar sentencing hearing, the Bill Cosby sentencing hearing, and Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing. Through a content analysis of 2419 tweets, the findings reveal that the majority of Twitter discourse ties into larger discussions on privilege, provides survivors with support, condemns the accused or convicted, or critiques the #metoo movement and survivors of sexual violence.
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Thesis advisor: Frank, Richard
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