MICHIGAN – Over a thousand Michiganders took part in a statewide survey to help prevent sexual violence in our state. The survey, executed by the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI), is part of a statewide effort to use data to drive prevention efforts in our communities. Over 1,200 individuals from across the state responded to the survey. The initial survey respondents were 68.8% women and 31.2% men. Of those respondents, 77.4% were white, 15% were African American, and 2.2% were Latinx. The survey results in the report have been weighted by population proportion to match the actual demographics of the State of Michigan. The survey was divided into sections including support for survivors, economic inequality, and harmful social norms. Key Results: n Nearly 25% of Michiganders do not think gaining consent is important when sexually touching a spouse or longtime partner. n Almost half of respondents think women get a kick out of teasing men sexually and then rejecting them. n More than a third of participants think women are too easily offended. n Research has shown that communities that are closely connected are more likely to hold perpetrators of assault accountable. Participants of this survey found a lack of connectedness and community in Michigan with just less than 50% of respondents stating that their neighborhood is close knit. n Similarly, economic supports for women is a key factor in risk reduction for sexual assault. Less than 40% of women report access to paid parental leave in Michigan. This survey tracks national data on both community risk and protective factors related to sexual violence within communities. According to reports written by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hostile social norms that tacitly approve of or tolerate sexual violence increase sexual violence. Communities in which individuals uphold prescriptive and strict gender norms (rigid ideas about behaviors that are appropriate for men and women), hostile attitudes toward women, and the endorsement of rape myths, in particular, are at greater risk for sexual violence. Neighborhoods where residents don’t support or trust one another are more likely to experience violence. Conversely, support and connectedness to one’s community can increase resilience to violence. Finally, strengthening economic supports for women in the workplace decreases poverty, increases economic security, and improves conditions that promote family stability. The absence of these economic justice measures have been found to be risk factors for sexual violence. “While sexual assault is always ultimately the choice of the offender,” said Sarah Prout Rennie, Executive Director of the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, “this research confirms that if we want to prevent violence in the first place, we have to stop growing perpetrators.”

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