Why I Didn’t Report: Reasons for Not Reporting Sexual Violence as Stated on Twitter

Catherine M. Reich, Gwendolyn D. Anderson, Richard F Maclin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Though sexual violence is prevalent, formal reporting to police remains uncommon. Social media may provide a unique outlet for survivors of different forms of sexual violence, who might otherwise remain silent. This study examined the viral Twitter #WhyIDidntReport hashtag to synthesize survivors’ reasons for not reporting sexual violence to formal authorities. A qualitative content analysis was conducted on a random sample of 469 tweets. Seven major themes emerged: internal reactions, expectations of negative social reactions, perpetrator factors, myths and knowledge, actual negative reactions from others, protection of others, and concerns about evidence. These themes are largely consistent with more narrowly focused past research, suggesting that social media may continue to offer viable opportunities for unobtrusive research in the future. Additionally, the uniquely broad lens of this study further illuminated stigma as a major barrier for reporting. Future research might test the relative predictive strength of specific barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
StatePublished - Apr 10 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis.


  • Sexual abuse
  • barriers
  • child sexual abuse
  • intimate partner violence
  • rape
  • sexual assault


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