(May 2019) Sacramento, CA – A new study released today by University of California San Diego School of Medicine’s Center for Gender Equity and Health (GEH) and the nonprofit organization California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) shows that sexual harassment and assault are widespread problems in California. 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
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.”