Google searches for the term ‘rape’ hit record highs, researchers say

Google searches spiked in the aftermath of the November 13 sexual assault at a New York University party, according to a new report.

Researchers at the University of Michigan’s Center for Cybersecurity, Identity and Social Change (CICS) say searches for terms related to sexual assault and rape are up 5.7 percent, or 4.8 million, in a year.

“Google has taken steps to improve its search quality and accuracy,” the report states.

“Its search engine algorithms, its search terms, and its content guidelines, for example, all contain the principles of truth, equity, fairness, and inclusivity.”

The report found searches related to rape were up 13 percent, more than twice the 8 percent increase seen in the year prior.

The CICS study is the first to quantify how search quality changes after the attacks on University of Missouri student Hannah Graham and University of California, Berkeley, student Yvette Felarca.

Graham, 18, and Felarcas, 19, were raped in a campus dormitory while partygoers were drinking alcohol.

The attacks sparked protests in the Bay Area and spurred nationwide outrage and a wave of new sexual assault accusations against campus officials.