Utah’s reported-rape rate – already higher than the national average – drastically underestimates the actual incidence of rape, says a new report quoted by the Salt Lake Tribune. In a 2007 phone survey of more than 1,800 women, nearly 13 percent said they had been forcibly raped in their lifetimes, said the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. An additional 16 percent were sexually assaulted in other ways, such as child molestation, drug-facilitated rape, and attempted rape. Fewer than 12 percent of those incidents were reported to police. “Campaigns exist all over to get people aware of [rape] and try to increase reporting,” said Christine Mitchell, director of research for the commission.
Reluctance to report rape leaves a dark question mark over Utah’s already high tally. According to the most recent federal crime report, Utah’s rate of reported rapes was about 10 percent higher than the national average. Victims of rapes in 2006 gave four reasons for not reporting the crime to police: Some said they “dealt with the incident in another way;” others described the incident as “minor,” said they believed the police would not be able to help, or that they did not report because they know the perpetrator well.