Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Search engine dodges the word rape

by Sabrina Sadler, Social Outreach Intern

What search engine do you use…Google, Yahoo, MSN? Search engines can now usually detect what you’re searching for before you type in the whole word or phrase. A drop bar will appear with a list of possible searches you may be looking for.

Working as an activist for sexual assault prevention and education I am constantly searching for new college programs, conferences, and fellow activists. In doing so, a thought crossed my mind, when using Google I typed the word rape into the search bar and a drop bar does not appear. My initial thought was how can a word that is used so frequently in our daily culture not appear in the drop box? I tried searching for ‘Men Can Stop Rape, I typed in ‘Men Can Stop’, but Google’s drop box suggested ‘Men Can Stop Violence’ so I decided to see what that search would bring up. The first search result for ‘Men Can Stop Violence’ was actually ‘Men Can Stop Rape’. I have a question Google, why are you censoring the word ‘rape’ in your search engine?

I did try other search engines such as Yahoo and MSN, and although neither of them have a drop bar of suggestions for ‘Men Can Stop Rape’ they both did have drop bar suggestions when I typed the word ‘rape’.

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