Sexual assault proves to be an issue even in happy valley

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Photo by Sammie Jo Raymond

With 2015 studies showing the amount of reported rapes in Utah exceeding the national average, a group of UVU students and faculty members met together to discuss the prevalence of sexual assault in Utah Oct. 11 in the Sorensen Center.

The discussion was held as part of the Real Talk program, which provides the chance to debate current social events in a safe and respectful setting. Topics ranged from statistics about sexual assault in Utah, as well as rape prevention, rape culture and other cultural influences regarding sexual assault.

Many in attendance seemed surprised to discover statistics stating that Utah is not exempt from a high volume of yearly sexual assaults. Some were particularly taken aback by the alarmingly low 12 percent of victims reporting. Participants in the discussion shared first and second-hand anecdotes about the apprehensions a victim might have when reporting their assault.

“I think that one thing that we found from the group discussion is that [sexual assault] is a huge cultural issue … Victims aren’t reporting because we live in a culture that shames them,” said Nate Terry, a digital marketing student.

In addition to the discussion, the mediator of the event Dallin Beveridge, provided important information about resources available to victims of sexual assault. UVU provides free group therapy in addition to rape recovery services. The Rape Recovery Center, a Utah based non-profit organization, has 24/7 on-call volunteers that help with legal and medical processes, and offer follow-up support via telephone.

The Real Talk program allows students and faculty to discuss potential solutions and action plans for combating widespread social issues.

If you or someone you know is in need, call the UVU Student Health Line at 801-863-8876 or the Rape Recovery Center 24/7 crisis hotline at 801-467-7273.