An Oklahoma State University study has concluded that an episode of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy medical drama contributed to heightened public awareness of sexual assault.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine earlier this month, claimed that the March episode, Silent All These Years, helped raise the profile of the group RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network). A key was the call-out by series star Ellen Pompeo at the end of the episode, encouraging victims to call the organization’s hotline.
The OKU research found that searches for the terms “RAINN” spiked by 41 percent and “rape” by 8 percent following the episode’s airing. On Twitter, tweets with “sexual assault hotline” and “RAINN” increased by more than 1,000 percent. Beyond social media, calls to RAINN increased by 43 percent in the 48 hours after the episode, the organization claimed.
In the episode, a patient named Abby (played by Khalilah Joi) was sexually assaulted, but reluctant to report the crime because she feared not being believed.
Abby was eventually convinced to undergo a sex assault forensic exam. As Abby is wheeled into surgery to fix a tear in her diaphragm, all the female hospital employees line the hallway to the OR, shielding a skittish Abby from males.
Watch the video of that clip above.