Studies show that one in three Utah women has been sexually assaulted, and one in six women report having been raped
Nearly one in two women in the U.S. will experience some form of sexual violence victimization in her lifetime (broadly defined), and Utah has the same overall rate. According to the most recent Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice report, when considering more specific definitions, one in three Utah women has been sexually assaulted, and one in six women report having been raped. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, rape occurs in Utah at a rate higher than the national average. Hence, sexual assault is a serious problem within the state.
Sexual Assault in Utah
Sexual assault is defined as any form of forced or coerced sexual contact without consent, including (but not limited to) rape, incest, molestation, oral sex, harassment, lewdness, forcing a person to take sexual pictures, or unwanted touching. Rape is a specific form of sexual assault and is defined in Utah as sexual intercourse without the victim’s consent. Rape is the only violent crime for which Utah’s rate is higher than the national average, and this has been the case for the past 25 years. For all other types of violent offenses (murder, robbery, and aggravated assault), Utah’s rate is notably lower than the national average.
Campus Sexual Assault
Campus sexual assault is currently a serious concern across the country, and Utah is no exception. There are ten major public and not-for-profit colleges and universities in the state, and each must report sexual assault crimes and arrests to the federal government, as required by the Clery Act. 20 However, these numbers include only reported assaults that occur on the school’s campus or campus-owned property. It is important to note that students do not spend all of their time on campus, and thus these reported statistics are not comprehensive and do not wholly reflect the number of occurrences of sexual assault offenses involving Utah college students. There are no reliable data regarding off campus sexual assaults.
The Costs of Sexual Assault
Sexual violence costs the state of Utah nearly $5 billion annually, which equates to $1,700 per resident each year.25 The greatest cost is related to the pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life victims experience after being assaulted. Knowing where to find resources after an attack is critical. Only one-third of victims (32.8%) in Utah seek counseling for issues arising from their sexual assault, with less than 1% contacting a rape crisis line. More than 80% of women report significant short term and long-term impacts following their assault, particularly Post-Traumatic Stress, and women with a history of sexual assault also have lower levels of physical and mental health than non-victims.
Read the full Snapshot Sexual Assault Among Utah Women