Methods & Results: This symposium presents three studies that examine recent media coverage of sexual violence. The first is an autoethnography of two sexual trauma researchers' experiences with engaging with international media. Through this exchange, the researchers experienced silencing and triggering in regards to incomplete reporting of survivor's experiences. The autoethnography is supported by a brief review of qualitative research on sexual trauma and the lack of use of member-checking before reporting results. The second study utilized a qualitative thematic analysis methodology to analyze data from a social networking site called Reddit. Two authors independently coded responses from a top comment surrounding topic of why survivors chose not to report their experiences of sexual violence. Finally, the third study compared the characterization of the accuser, the nominee, and the sexual violence in newspaper headlines during Justice Thomas' confirmation hearing to those during Justice Kavanaugh's using a mixed methods approach. While less victim-blaming and minimization of sexual violence was seen in the 2018 headlines, newspapers continued to avoid naming the sexual violence and the characterizations of the nominee, accuser, and violence became depersonalized in 2018, focusing on politics rather than the people and issues at hand.
Conclusions and implications: Media coverage of sexual violence has the potential to influence how communities discuss and respond to sexual violence as well as influence survivors' decisions regarding help-seeking. In addition, lack of member-checking in media and academic coverage of sexual trauma research can create triggering and silencing for survivors of sexual trauma. It is therefore critical for us to understand media's coverage of sexual violence and its potential influence on communities.