‘Fearless 5K’ raises awareness regarding sexual assaults in Utah

Posted at 5:34 PM, Apr 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-30 23:33:59-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The race may end at Memory Grove Park, but there is still a long road ahead for those working against sexual assaults.

Runners stepped out on Saturday morning for the Fearless 5K, and the race aims to raise awareness about sexual assaults.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams was there to share the Beehive state’s statistics. He said Utah has 80,000 sexual assault victims annually, and 4,000 of those victims are children.

He said Utah ranks 9th per capita in the country for sexual assaults.

“It’s not acceptable, and we want to show support for the victims and bring this out of the shadows and into the light,” McAdams said.

Ashely Engler is a survivor who ran in Saturday's race.

“I think I know too many women, and experienced it myself, in some way shape or form and sexual assault is a real epidemic, and it needs to stop,” she said.

April Olson, another runner, said she was there in a show of solidarity.

“It's about supporting other people even if it didn’t happen to you,” she said.

“Everybody knows someone who has been sexually assaulted," runner Dana Hernandez added.

Mayor McAdams said he wants to see more education and prevention.

“People are hesitant to come forward, so the actual numbers we have are lower than what in reality is happening in our community,” he said.

After the race, there was a session for self-defense classes.

Miyo Strong is a self-defense coordinator and taught the adults and the children some protective moves.

“We also ask people to step outside of their comfort zones and do things that are uncomfortable because you want to be prepared for the unpredictable,” Strong said.

For more information and resources regarding sexual violence in Salt Lake County, click here.