Research from BYU professors found Utah to be above the national average for rapes per capita.

Driving the news: BYU College of Nursing dean Julie Valentine and BYU associate professor Leslie Miles’ 11-year research on sexual assault among Utah women was published by the Utah Women and Leadership Project on Aug. 3, showing Utah is ranked ninth in the United States for amount of rapes per capita.

  • The national average stands at 42.6 rapes per 100,000 people, while Utah’s stands at 55.5 rapes per 100,000 people.
Opinion: Believe her — the reasons behind our underreported sexual assault cases

Between the lines: According to a research snapshot from the study, rape is currently the only violent crime (defined as murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) in Utah with higher rates than the national average.

  • The research comes from data collected “on adolescent/adult sexual assault cases from sexual assault medical forensic examination (SAMFE) forms from eight Utah counties (i.e., Salt Lake, Utah, Weber, Morgan, Davis, Box Elder, Washington, and Iron) since 2010 through a research collaboration with four forensic nursing teams and Utah Department of Public Safety Bureau of Forensic Services,” the snapshot reported.

What they’re saying: The research snapshot calls the high number of rapes “especially concerning” due to the fact “only 11.8% of individuals who have experienced rape or sexual assault in Utah reported the crime to law enforcement.”

  • Valentine says there’s a myriad of reasons that could be contributing to the high number of cases. “In conservative cultures, which I would put Utah in that category, victims are more hesitant to report because they feel they will not be believed,” Valentine told The Daily Universe.
  • Utah State University professor Susan Madsen, founder of the Utah Women and Leadership Project, believes more people need to take action on the issue, saying, “It’s time to move,” per The Daily Universe.
  • “It’s just wrong on every level and being silent and not taking this on as one of our most serious problems in the state is not acceptable anymore,” Madsen continued.

Details: According to the research snapshot, Black and Native American individuals have higher vulnerability for sexual assault in Utah than the national average.

  • The report also found “most sexual assaults occur in houses or apartments (62.6%), followed by other locations (e.g., motels, bars, restaurants, businesses), cars/automobiles and the outdoors.”
3 women at BYU have created an app they hope will protect others from sexual violence