Remembering Lauren McCluskey Five Years Later

Oct 17, 2023, 2:42 PM | Updated: 3:02 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – October 22, 2018, is one of three days the Utah Athletics community will sadly never forget. That was the day track and field star Lauren McCluskey was brutally murdered nearly five years ago by an ex-boyfriend after numerous pleas for help were ignored.

While the events of that day turned out to be frustratingly preventable, it did open up an important conversation not only locally, but nationally about domestic/dating violence, stalking, and how we protect those who are living in fear of a partner, ex-partner, friend, and occasionally random admirer.

Lauren’s parents, Jill and Matthew McCluskey, along with her Utah track and field coach, Kyle Kepler, continue to work to make sure her story never dies and that continued efforts are made to improve how we protect victims of domestic/dating violence and stalking.


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The Statistics On Dating/Domestic Violence & Stalking

85% of domestic violence victims are women and one out of four women across the world will experience domestic/dating violence sometime in their life.

Additionally, every nine seconds in the United States a woman is either beaten or assaulted.

When looking at stalking specifically, according to a 2019 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, females are stalked nearly twice as often as males.

What this all means is that you have likely encountered at least one person in your lifetime who has been dealing with or dealt with dating/domestic violence and/or stalking and any of the numerous subsets of crimes that spring from those overarching categories.

It’s also highly likely that you’re unaware that you know someone who has been through any kind of abuse and stalking due to how underreported and how little it’s openly talked about.

This is where the Lauren McCluskey Foundation hopes to make meaningful changes to our society in continued honor and remembrance of its namesake.

The Lauren McCluskey Foundation

Honoring the life and spirit of Lauren McCluskey by bringing awareness to, funding research for, and providing resources to change the cultures that respond poorly to dating violence and stalking on campuses.

Since McCluskey’s tragic death, The Lauren McCluskey Foundation has been set up to help promote and bring awareness to dating violence and stalking- particularly on college campuses which is where her murder took place.

Lauren’s Promise

LMF’s big push is to get everyone possible to make “Lauren’s Promise” in order to better support and get help for victims of dating/domestic violence and stalking.

The keystones of “Lauren’s Promise” are:

  • vowing to represent a safe haven for sharing incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking.
  • promising to listen to and believe individuals who are being threatened, experienced sexual assault, dating violence or stalking.
  • pledgers will help connect victims who come to them to support resources.

Race For Campus Safety

On top of trying to raise awareness and get support from allies through “Lauren’s Promise”, the Lauren McCluskey Foundation also holds an annual “Race For Campus Safety” close to the anniversary of Lauren’s death.

The race is designed to help with funds for the foundation to combat dating/domestic violence and stalking while also honoring something that McCluskey loved to do and excelled at- running.

There is still time to sign up for the Utah race that will be held on October 21, 2023, at 8:00 a.m. MT on the University of Utah Campus.

If you or someone you know needs help in a domestic violence situation, assistance is always available through the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition. Click here.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Remembering Lauren McCluskey Five Years Later