CORRECTION: ‘I’m Going To Kill Her When She Gets Home’ Was Not Googled 178 Million Times Last Year
CORRECTION: This article originally published on April 27, 2021, contained false information.
It claimed that the term ‘I’m going to kill her when she gets home’ was googled 178 million times. The academic who wrote the article this story was based on has publicly acknowledged that her article titled ‘COVID-19, suicide, and femicide: Rapid Research using Google search phrases’ was based on was inaccurate research, as she mistook the number of Google results for the number of times users had searched the phrase.
Full Fact has more information in a fact check: https://fullfact.org/online/google-domestic-abuse/
‘I’m going to kill her when she gets home’ was typed into Google 178 million times in 2020.
Earlier this year, UK police said lockdowns had an ‘inevitable impact’ on domestic abuse. This was echoed by Panorama research, with two-thirds of women in abusive relationships suffering more violence from their partners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Three-quarters of victims said lockdown made it more difficult to escape their relationships.
Last year’s Google searches only serve to illustrate these shocking findings, with the search engine trawled for answers to horrifying questions – or in this case, statements of intent.
Katerina Standish, the deputy director and senior lecturer at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand, led a study titled, ‘COVID-19, suicide, and femicide: Rapid Research using Google search phrases.’
Published in The Journal of General Psychology, it looked to ‘problematise the public health response to the virus outbreak in light of two consequential and preventable traumas that shadow the COVID-19 calamity: femicide and suicide’.
It looked at Google searches in the US in 2020, split into six areas of interest: precarity; insecurity; despondency; helplessness; indicative male violence; and intentional male violence. The study found an increase from 31% to 106 in all categories.
More specifically, with regards to intentional male violence, ‘how to control your woman’ was Googled 165 million times, up 67% from 2019. ‘How to hit a woman so no one knows’ was also Googled 165 million times, an increase of 31%, and ‘I am going to kill her when she gets home’ was searched 178 million times, up 39% from the previous year.
With indicative male violence, 107 million Google searches were recorded for ‘he will kill me’, marking an 84% increase from 2019. ‘He beats me up all the time’ was Googled 320 million times during the pandemic, up 36% from 2019.
Most of all, ‘help me, he won’t leave’ was Googled more than 1.22 billion times, marking a 95% increase from 2019.
While the study notes it ‘has not connected online utterances of potential male violence against women to actual or experienced violence against specific women’, it serves to strengthen claims of violence as relevant threats associated with the pandemic, beyond the virus itself.
As per MSNBC, Ted Bunch, co-founder of advocacy organisation A Call to Men, said: ‘When someone searches for a term that shows an intention to physically harm a woman, we need an immediate disruption. It takes visionary funders and leaders of industry who are willing to look at innovative prevention methods to create these types of disruptions.’
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