We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.

Sexual violence costs Utah nearly $5 billion every year

1-14-16 Utah:

SALT LAKE CITY — DeAnn Tilton was sexually abused at a young age by a family member.

She recalled Wednesday that whenever she mentioned it to others, she felt like the burden was hers to maintain their "forever family," to keep the family together and "to put up with it."

"My body is my most sacred place of home and it had been violated. My home was no longer my home, no longer my refuge," she said. "When you spend your life not being able to trust going home in your own body, that sets up an entire lifetime of terror, of captivity, of deep shame and of isolation."

And though the abuse ended in her home before the now 47-year-old Tilton was a teen, she said she felt "used" during those formative years and likely set aside her own needs and desires for decades. She was raped twice in college and survived a bout with bulimia as another consequence of feeling shame.

It wasn't until she was able to develop a strong support system that she began speaking out against the abuse.

The emotional costs and societal impacts of sexual violence, similar to what Tilton experienced, are "staggering," Ron Gordon, executive director of the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, said Wednesday.

A new report on the costs of sexual violence in Utah reveals that Utah government spent nearly $5 billion in 2011, including a $4 billion estimated loss on psychological, emotional and physical suffering and a loss of quality of life for victims, as well as more than $1 billion in real costs. Gordon said Utah spent $9.7 million on investigation and adjudication of sexual violence in that year, with $82 million for confinement and treatment of perpetrators.

One-third of prison inmates, he said, "are there for sexual offenses."

And while state spending leans heavily toward the perpetrators, thousands of Utahns are victimized by sexual violence and domestic abuse each year, and 1 in 8 women and 1 in 50 men, a 2008 study found, will be raped in their lifetime.

In 2011, an estimated 3,609 children were victims of sexual assault, according to the report. There were 20,666 victims of adult rape in Utah and 54,742 victims of other adult sexual assaults, with females victimized 4 out of 5 times in cases of rape, leading to suicide attempts, pregnancies, alcohol and drug abuse, and the spread of a variety of sexually transmitted diseases, the report states.

The report, compiled by the Utah Department of Health and the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, can be found online at www.health.utah.gov/vipp.

"The numbers alone can't begin to quantify the impact that sexual violence has on victims, families and communities in the entire state," Gordon said, adding that having the costs totaled gives the state "a starting place" to look at what needs to change. ..Continued.. by Wendy Leonard

No comments: