Dr. Heather Storer
Feminist-oriented hashtags such as #MeToo and #WhyIStayed have transformed the dialogue on gender-based violence and called attention to the myriad ways that social media can transform social norms and attitudes at the population-level.
Dr. Storer’s research investigates primary prevention approaches to ameliorating adolescent dating abuse, sexual assault, and community violence, particularly among vulnerable and socially underrepresented populations. Her recent scholarship has documented the representation of dating violence in spaces intentionally marketed to youth including social media and young adult novels. Her research agenda investigates how population-level factors influence youth’s meaning-making processes regarding dating and domestic violence. A significant focus of her work focuses on addressing the upstream and contextual determinants of dating violence and identifying pathways to support optimal adolescent development and well-being.
Dr. Storer’s recent investigation of the feminist-based hashtags #WhyIStayed and #MeToo illustrates the potential for social media sites to facilitate the development of a virtual commons that centers center the voices and experiences of underrepresented populations and function as viable tools to influence public perception regarding gender-based violence. Further, through her community-based collaboration with African American youth in the urban South, Dr. Storer has raised the importance of identifying the community-level and situational factors that contextualize teen’s conceptualizations of and responses to violence in their social environments.