Young people seeking help for sexual assault: A question-and-answer online environment

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Somazone is an Australian website developed and monitored by the Australian Drug Foundation and designed to assist young people 'to ask questions, share stories and get help for mental health issues, sexual health, relationships, abuse, body image, and drug use' (Australian Drug Foundation 2013). This paper reports on 23 "stories" about sexual assault written by 'Posters' and accompanying feedback provided by 'Commenters' (n = 155) that were posted on the Somazone website during a two-year period. Almost half of Posters disclosed a rape. Commenters provided validation, interpretation and advice to Posters in response to posted stories. The feedback was generally positive but some criticised Posters for being naïve, passive or sexually permissive. Twenty-one Commenters self-disclosed in response to stories. The 'Stories' section of Somazone provides an opportunity for young people to understand their experiences, but may benefit from the feedback of a trained counsellor.


School of Arts

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Journal Article

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