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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2018 Jul;27(7):885-891. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2017.6560. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou: Social Media Underscore the Realities of Intimate Partner Violence.

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1 Department of Human Development and Family Studies, College of Social Science, Michigan State University , East Lansing, Michigan.
2 Department of Psychiatry, Rhode Island Hospital , Providence, Rhode Island.
3 Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health , Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.



Public intimate partner violence (IPV) discourse emphasizes physical violence. In May 2016, the Twitter hashtag #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou generated a public conversation about abuse beyond physical IPV. Because of the often-disconnect between IPV research and what survivors struggle to name as abuse in their daily lives, we sought to understand how IPV discourse was unfolding as a result of the #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou hashtag.


NCapture was used to collect publically available Twitter data containing the hashtag "#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou" from May 10, 2016 to May 17, 2016. Using the Duluth Power and Control Wheel (a range of tactics used by abusers to control and harm their partners) and the Women's Experience with Battering (WEB) framework (emotional and behavioral responses to being abused), we analyzed 1,229 original content tweets using qualitative content analysis.


All dimensions of the Power and Control Wheel and five of six dimensions of the WEB framework were expressed via #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou; users did not express yearning for intimacy with their abusive partners. Users described one form of IPV not currently represented within the Power and Control Wheel-reproductive coercion (e.g., "#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou but he refuses to use condoms and forces you not to use contraception so you try to do it behind his back"). Two additional themes emerged; users challenged the gender pronoun of the hashtag, highlighting that abuse may happen with partners of all genders, and users provided social support for others (e.g., "#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou is real. Bruises and scars aren't the only measure of abuse! If this is you, help is thereā€¦").


Results from our study underscore the potential for social media platforms to be powerful agents for engaging public dialogue about the realities of IPV, as well as a space for seeking and providing social support about this critical women's health issue.


emotional abuse; intimate partner violence; social media

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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