Public Awareness for a Sexual Assault Hotline Following a Grey’s Anatomy Episode
On March 28, 2019, Grey’s Anatomy premiered an episode with a storyline about sexual assault entitled “Silent All These Years.” Actress Ellen Pompeo ended the episode with a public service announcement encouraging viewers impacted by sexual assault to seek help and contact the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) hotline. Before and after the episode aired, a team led by Trevor Torgerson evaluated the public awareness of this sexual assault resource. They did this by examining Tweets and Google searches including the words “rape”, “sexual assault”, “RAINN”, and “Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network”.
The Grey’s Anatomy episode encouraged public conversations about sexual assault and raised awareness for educational and supportive resources. On the day after “Silent All These Years” aired, Tweets tagging @RAINN increased by 1097% above what was projected for a usual day; tweets mentioning the hotline increased by 1955%. Google inquiries including the term RAINN were 41% higher than expected, and telephone calls to RAINN’s hotline also increased by 43% in the 48 hours after the episode premiered.
The Vassar team believes the entertainment industry could be an important public health platform pairing health storylines with awareness of nonprofit health organizations such as RAINN.
Stranger Things Actor Gaten Matarazzo III Has Increased Public Awareness of Cleidocranial Dysplasia
Calling all “Stranger Things” fans: Did you know the reason nerdy preteen Dustin Henderson doesn’t have any front teeth in seasons one and three is because the actor who plays him has a rare bone condition?Gaten Matarazzo III, who plays Dustin on the Netflix megahit, was born with cleidocranial dysplasia, or CCD, a rare disorder which primarily affects growth of teeth and collarbones.Like many celebrities, Matarazzo is using his new fame to bring attention to the condition. It’s been written into the plotline of “Stranger Things” in every season — Dustin even gets dentures in season two — and Matarazzo has made numerous appearances to discuss his life with CCD (and take out his dentures as well).
The attention appears to be working to build public awareness. According to a new study published Thursday in the journal JAMA, each season of the show brought an unexpected increase in weekly Google search traffic for CCD, well above typical levels.