This new report shows that sexual harassment and assault are widespread problems in California and that a robust investment in preventing sexual violence is desperately needed. This study marks the first time data has been made available on a statewide sample of Californians experiencing sexual harassment and assault. Released in the wake of the groundbreaking societal reckoning with sexual harassment and assault prompted by the #MeToo movement, the study’s major findings include:
- Statewide, 86% of women and 53% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime.
- Men born outside the US were significantly more likely than men born in the US to report that they had experienced sexual harassment
- More people believed harassment or assault happened in most or all cases (56% of women, 51% of men) than believed that harassment or assault did not happen in most cases (8% of women, 9% of men).
“This report demonstrates that sexual harassment is prevalent and ubiquitous in California, no matter who you are or where you live, and at the same time we also see increased risk among some of the most marginalized groups,” said Dr. Anita Raj, PhD, director of GEH and a professor in the Department of Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a professor in the Department of Education Studies in the UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences.
In 2018 the California legislature provided $5 million in one-time funding for rape crisis center programs. Yet our study demonstrates that the problem of sexual harassment and assault goes beyond the workplace and the need to provide services to those who have been abused. Our recent report, “The Costs and Consequences of Sexual Violence In California,” demonstrated that in 2012 the costs of sexual violence totaled $140 billion. California must do more to stop and prevent sexual assault and harassment earlier.
“Prevention efforts, including education in schools as early as possible around issues of consent and harassment are crucial,” said David S. Lee, director of prevention for CALCASA. “We know that prevention works, and it’s necessary to shift to a culture where individuals look out for one another.”
The research is clear: There is a high prevalence of sexual assault and harassment in California and prevention strategies can help our state prevail over sexual violence.
Together with Senator Jim Beall, Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio, and the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (the Partnership), CALCASA is advocating for $50 million in ongoing funding for prevention strategies. For more information visit:http://www.calcasa.org/preventionworks