Around 50 million Google searches in the US between October 2017 and June 2018 were on sexual harassment and the reporting and prevention of such behaviour, a study has found. The study holds relevance in the backdrop of the #MeToo movement.
The study found that searches on sexual harassment and sexual assault were 86 per cent higher between the October 2017 and June 2018 period, reaching a record high.
The study found that at least 40-54 million Google searches on sexual harassment and sexual assault in US were in the eight months after allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein came up, ringing in the #MeToo movement.
The research team in the study monitored the volume of Google searches in the US indicative of sexual harassment and sexual assault awareness from January 2010 to June 2018.
They also monitored the subset of these searches that focused on seeking resources for reporting sexual harassment and sexual assault.
The search volumes were provided as a ratio of all Google searches (per 10 million), thereby adjusting for changes in Google usage over time, the study published in journal JAMA Internal Medicine said.
The team found that searches related to reporting and preventive training for sexual harassment and assault were 30 per cent higher and 51 per cent higher than predicted.
#MeToo was tweeted 300,000 times the day after actress Alyssa Milano urged support for the movement.
In India, the #MeToo movement began after Bollywood actress Tanushree Dutta accused actor Nana Patekar of sexual harassment.