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Survey: LGBTQ people more likely to face sexual violence

April 12, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lesbian, gay and bisexual Utah residents are more frequently victims of sexual violence than heterosexual people, according to a new Utah Department of Health survey.

About 10,000 Utah adults took the survey in 2016, answering questions such as whether they had ever been raped or if someone had ever attempted to rape them, the Salt Lake Tribune reported .

One in 10 adults in the state — men and women — said they have experienced sexual violence at least once. The rate was considerably higher for woman, with one in six saying they have experienced sexual violence.

Close to half of bisexual people and a third of lesbian or gay people surveyed reported experiencing sexual violence at some time in their life, compared to less than 9 percent for those who identify as straight, according to the survey.

Those results, despite being based on a relatively small sample size, are similar to previous national and state poll findings that sexual minorities are more likely to have been raped or faced an attempted rape, state Health Department violence and injury epidemiologist Deanna Ferrell said.

Unemployed Utah residents and those living in households earning less than $25,000 a year also appeared to be at greater risk of sexual violence, according to the survey.

Turner Bitton, executive director of the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said the results speak to a need for “culturally specific prevention programming” in the state.

“Sexual violence is rooted in the inequities of our society and disproportionately hurts those who have been pushed to the margins,” Bitton said. “Utah communities are counting on us to ensure that everyone is included in prevention efforts.”

The 2016 survey was the first time Utah health officials included male respondents in a sexual violence poll.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

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