Post 6: Scraping the web for the data of Sexual Assault

By Yu Zhang

屏幕快照 2016-09-04 下午2.04.03.png

Twitter is one of most popular online social networking service that can share information, daily life and news with texts, images, and video sources. This social media platform is very easy to collect what you want to see by search the keyword and/or hashtags, which is very convenient for us to collect any data of issues. Also, the unique qualities of twitter are all of the sources are public and visible once users published it, which is easy for all of the users to communicate the topic and news at anytime, anywhere.

屏幕快照 2016-09-04 下午1.47.21

One of the specific function of twitter is ‘Advanced Search’. It allows users can search their needs by type the keywords in different category to help users to filter any useless data while achieving the most relevant information on the issue . For example, if you want to search ‘mental health’ as my topic, the released result will be too broad and lots of results might be irrelevant. So if users type ‘mental health’ on ‘These hashtag’ and pick a specific theme and type it on ‘all of these words’  that relate to mental health, that will give you a comprehensive result. Also, it can even be more specific if users are more strict about the dates, place and/or language.

屏幕快照 2016-09-04 下午2.35.30

During the web-scraping, I choose ‘sexual assault’ with the hashtag ‘mental health’ and I found lots of experience, news, with links, and critical report with videos, and images. One of article I looked it further is ‘Sexual Assault Survivors Are Using #IHaveTheRightTo as a Way to Reclaim Their Power’ written by Mckenzie Maxson. It’s about an activity with the hashtag ‘#IHaveTheRightTo’ against the phenomenon of the story from sexual assault people are being erased. In America, over than 16% women had experience with sexual assault that affects their mental health, but they can not reflect the story on the society by some reasons. So this activity is to awake people start to pay attention to this mental issue and tell the people with sexual assault that they are not alone and able to speak and share their experience.

屏幕快照 2016-09-04 下午2.50.47

屏幕快照 2016-09-04 下午2.50.58

屏幕快照 2016-09-04 3.56.16 pm.png

After I read the article, I try to search the hashtag ‘#IHaveTheRightTo’ and found lots of personal tweets to support this activity and the interview with school assault survivor from Today Show. This result reflects that the function of twitter can extend the issue further with different keywords.Once we found a specific activity, it’s possible to found another activity that also relates to the topic, which means twitter might provide as many data as you want.

屏幕快照 2016-09-04 10.08.39 pm.png

屏幕快照 2016-09-04 10.04.15 pm.png

Another tool we could use for research is Twitter Archiver. It’s a tool that collaborates between Google Docs and Twitter. Once users sign in their twitter account in Google Docs, they are able to research  by creating a Twitter Search Rule. Also, users need to consider the chosen words to research. I was just type ‘mental health’ for my first try and it brings over than ten thousand results released. So it really needs more keywords to narrow down the search result while provides users with better quality information.

屏幕快照 2016-09-04 10.17.40 pm.png

屏幕快照 2016-09-04 10.18.01 pm.png

One of the twitter accounts that I found it from Twitter Archiver is CWCC (Central Wyoming Counseling Center). It’s a mental health community and substance abuse treatment center to help the residents of Wyoming. Mostly, the CWCC published lots of articles that relate to mental health for users to read, and most of sources are authoritative.

屏幕快照 2016-09-04 10.39.55 pm.png

One of sources I found from CWCC is the functions of treatment to different mental illness. It mentioned 90% of people suicide by mental disorder and it’s able to prevent by refining the treatment of different mental health areas. For example, Major Depression, Medications, Bipolar Disorder etc. However, therapy with patients is their position to believe that is the way to prevent mental illness.

屏幕快照 2016-09-06 12.18.17 pm.png

Overall, the research functions really help me to understand much further about mental health while providing lots of inspiration for me to use it for visual design responses. At this stage, I consider to pay attention to sexual assault as my main theme and develop the graphic style with a character. I also thinking about some materials that can represent the emotions, experiences, behavior and lifestyle with sexual assault,especially ‘fear’. Also, I will consider how to use a graphic to represent treatment, no matter it’s positive or negative, but it provides a signal about treatment affects the quality of mental health services. The conversation might be the factors to reflect treatment, so I will consider using dialogue with texture and layout while insert words inside of the character that makes a strong figure and ground style to develop a contrast between external factors and thoughts of the character. The color might be black and white but depends on what kind of color are most suitable for the graphic.

5 points summary:

  • No matter what kind of social networking platform you chose for research, words chosen is pivotal.
  • In America, people with sexual assault experiences can not reflect the story on the society by some reasons.
  • The hashtag is the way to connect different words with a similar topic, which can help us to extend any issue or theme that you searching.
  • A social networking account with specific content (eg. mental health community) is the pathway to achieving what you need.
  • Treatment can affect the quality of mental illness by the therapy with patients.


American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Treatment, viewed 3 September 2016, <;.

CWCC, 2016, viewed 3 September 2016, <;.

Maxson, M.2016, Sexual Assault Survivors Are Using #IHaveTheRightTo as a Way to Reclaim Their Power, viewed 3 September 2016, <–greatistcom-&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&gt;.