“I learned that this wasn’t my fault. I’m slowly re-building my self-esteem and confidence and hope by telling my story it will help someone.”
What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence (SV) is any unwanted sexual contact or attention resulting from force, threats, bribes, manipulation, pressure, or violence. Sexual violence can take many forms, including rape or attempted rape, domestic and dating violence, and child sexual abuse. Sexual violence can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, class, race, occupation, religion, sexual orientation, or physical appearance. Sexual violence is a crime of power and control. It has nothing to do sex or with how someone dresses or acts. No one asks or deserves to be sexually assaulted.
- One in 10 adults report being the victim of rape or attempted rape at some point in their lifetimes.
- Rape is the only violent crime in Utah that is higher than the national average.
- SV has a large economic cost. In 2011, the direct and indirect costs resulting from SV totaled nearly $5 billion, or almost $1,700 per Utah resident.
- Sexual abuse is an Adverse Childhood Experience.
Ways to prevent sexual violence
Anyone can experience sexual violence, but most victims are female. The person responsible for the violence is typically male and is usually someone known to the victim. The person can be, but is not limited to, a friend, coworker, neighbor, or family member. The most common prevention strategies focus on the perpetrator, bystanders, and the community as a whole.
Research shows that 80% of college-age men are uncomfortable when women are belittled or mistreated, but they do not express their discomfort because they believe they are the only ones who are uncomfortable. Bystander intervention better equips men to express their discomfort.
What can bystanders do to make a difference?
- Believe someone who discloses a sexual assault, abusive relationship, stalking or cyberstalking.
- Be respectful of yourself and others. Make sure any sexual act is OK with your partner if you initiate.
- Watch out for your friends– if you see someone who looks like they are in trouble, ask if they are okay. If you see a friend doing something inappropriate, say something.
- Speak up – if someone says something offensive, derogatory, or abusive, let them know that the behavior is wrong and you don’t want to be around it. Don’t laugh at racist, sexist, or homophobic jokes. Challenge your peers to be respectful.
- Get involved –volunteer at a Rape Crisis Program or join another campus or community group working on these issues.
Involving and working with men
- Recognizing unhealthy aspects of masculinity.
- Showing empathy for others.
- Supporting gender equity.
- Exhibiting attitudes that respect one’s self and other.
- Learning communication, anger management, and conflict resolution skills.
- Establishing healthy relationships.
- Recognizing violent masculine attitudes and behaviors.
Building community coalitions
How much does sexual violence cost?
New data revealed that in 2011, the costs of sexual violence totaled nearly $5 billion, almost $1,700 per Utah resident. The greatest cost was due to the pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life that victims experienced. The data also revealed dramatic differences in the resources that are allocated after a sexual assault takes place. In 2011, the Utah state government spent more than $92 million on people known to have perpetrated sexual violence while spending only $16.5 million on those who experienced sexual violence. Only $569,000 was spent on efforts to prevent sexual violence. Read the full report…