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Mia Wilson is pursuing Master of Science degree in Global Mental Health at the University of Glasgow.
Mia Wilson, who is pursuing a Master of Science degree in Global Mental Health at the University of Glasgow, is currently researching the #MeToo movement.
In particular, Mia wants to understand the difference experiences undergone by those who participated in the #MeToo movement online
She hopes that her study, which involves collecting data through this anonymous survey, can pave the way towards a better understanding and prevention of sexual harassment.
In an email interview, this is what Mia had to say (edited excerpts)
What got you looking at this particular topic for your dissertation? were there any other ideas you had in mind?
I always knew that I wanted to research sexual trauma as it is a topic of personal significance, and I am passionately committed to helping eradicate this form of violence.
I chose #MeToo as my focus because the unprecedented number of people sharing their stories during the movement felt like a real game changer.
It is interesting that you are focusing on the online sphere - do you expect any differences between "offline" and "online" experiences?
Although I’m trying to let the data speak for itself, I do feel that for #MeToo to have become so popular, there must be some differences between “offline” and “online” disclosures.
For example, I’m wondering whether people felt safer disclosing online due to the ability to stay anonymous or physically distanced from those who read their posts? Or perhaps witnessing the online stories of others gave people the comfort that their voice would be absorbed into a collective conversation?
Offline, people tend to disclose in isolation, which can be incredibly daunting. Perhaps people felt more confident speaking and expected more supportive responses when they knew that others were talking too?
There are many ways that #MeToo could have affected people, but there is not much research on the topic.
Early days for sure, but any thoughts on where this research will eventually lead you towards?
I think that the results of my study could have several implications. It is important to know more about what enables sexual trauma victims and survivors to speak because speaking exposes the problem and dismantles the structures that perpetuate it.
Secondly, by knowing how online disclosure was helpful or unhelpful, we can better understand the needs of those affected by sexual trauma.
For instance, if people found that #MeToo was helpful due to the sense of community, we can use this information to establish more support groups that provide people with low-cost, low-resource opportunities for healing.
Alternatively, if we discover that as a result of #MeToo more people want to pursue justice or professional help, we can strengthen policies and training for relevant personnel to meet demand.
In a personal capacity, the next step for me is to pursue training as a clinical psychologist with a forensic speciality.
By doing so, I hope to support sexual violence survivors in their recovery, help shape policies to protect them when navigating legal procedures, and work with offenders to try and end the violent cycle.