Nearly 10 percent of Utah adults reported that someone had sex or attempted to have sex with them without their consent in their lifetime. But 33 percent of those who said they were gay or lesbian reported they were sexually violated, and over 45 percent of bisexuals said they were.
A report on sexual violence recently released by the Utah Department of Health shows the results of a 2016 survey of about 10,000 Utahns over the age of 18.
The study used the Centers for Disease Control definition of sexual violence: “sexual activity (sexual touching, harassment or exposure to sexual content) that involves victims who do not consent, or who are unable to consent. There are different forms of sexual violence, including unwanted physical contact and unwanted sexual
situations. Anyone can experience sexual violence.”
Other demographic groups that showed more than average incidence of sexual violence include those who are currently unemployed at 21 percent, those currently divorced at 18.7 percent, females at 16.4 percent and those who currently earn less than $25,000 a year at 14.9 percent.
The department reports that sexual violence leads to negative health outcomes, with those who experienced sexual violence are nearly twice as likely to be a smoker or binge drinker and nearly three times more likely to be in poor health.
The report does not go into why gay, lesbian and bisexual people are so much more likely to be victims of sexual violence, as it merely is reporting the results of the survey.
It does, however, go into risk factors, such as societal norms that support violence, like the fact that 42 percent of junior high and high schools have no requirement to educate teachers and staff on sexual violence, that only one in five Utah legislators are women, and that women make only 70 cents to the dollar men make.
The department offers five prevention strategies to stop sexual violence: promote social norms that protect against violence, teach skills to prevent sexual violence, provide opportunities to empower and support girls and women, create protective environments, and support victims/survivors to lessen harms.
They also report that, in 2011, direct and indirect costs resulting from sexual violence in the state totaled nearly $5 billion.
The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault operates the Utah Sexual Violence Crisis Line, a 24-hour “safe, confidential service offered to sexual violence survivors anywhere in the state,” at 1-888-421-1100.
They also have a sexual assault services map of organizations which can help survivors of sexual assault at ucasa.org/services.