Last year, to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), I looked at google trends in searches of domestic violence, breast cancer, and Chris Brown. This year, I thought I'd take a look at domestic violence, breast cancer, and the NFL. I wondered if there was a jump in domestic violence (DV) searches, given all of the talk about DV this last month. Sure enough, there was a big spike in interest in September.
Was it enough to make a dent in the large gap in interest between domestic violence and breast cancer? Turns out, yes! I limited the search time to the last 90 days and there is a significant spike in googling domestic violence in September compared to the previous two months. In fact, on September 8th, the day TMZ published video of Ray Rice punching his then fiancée in an elevator, more people searched for domestic violence than breast cancer. While that particular day is an outlier, web searches for domestic violence have remained higher than before the video was released. As October approaches, renewed interest in breast cancer is also apparent.
So, how does this all compare to interest in football? Not so well. The National Football League (NFL) is substantially more interesting to internet users than either domestic violence, breast cancer, or even Chris Brown.
The NFL has a real opportunity to bring some much needed public consciousness to the social problem of domestic violence. The NFL is still planning to "go pink" for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but this year they announced they will air domestic violence public service announcements during games. The National Network to End Domestic Violence is also leading a campaign to ask the NFL to wear purple (color of DV awareness). Whatever strategy is implemented, it would be great to generate awareness of domestic violence without needing a video of a football player punching his partner unconscious to get a conversation started.
For more information on domestic violence awareness, follow #DVAM on Twitter all month.