One in four women at the University of Wisconsin have reported being sexually assaulted, according to the 2015 survey by the Association of American Universities. UW, however, is looking to change that statistic.
In a report released Wednesday by the AAU, the 2015 survey that initially revealed the one in four statistic has now been used to implement training and programs to prevent sexual assault in the future.
Rejecting silence: Student survivors take control, speak out on sexual violenceEditor’s note: Trigger warning for sexual assault. Waking up on Valentine’s Day freshman year, the night before was vague. Puzzled, I looked Read…
Over the last three academic years, 100 percent of the responding institutions have increased sexual assault education and training for staff and students, according to the report. Ninety-five percent of the institutions have also developed new resources to help address sexual assault.
After the 2015 AAU survey came out, it helped everyone see that sexual assault was a problem we all needed to participate in and that we needed to work on, Sarah Van Orman, University Health Services director, said.
The AAU survey also revealed students with disabilities, students of color, LGBTQ+ and gender nonconforming students have experienced disproportionate rates of victimization.
To address this, as of 2015, UW has required all first-year students to attend an in-person violence prevention workshop, UHS spokesperson Marlena Holden said. The second portion is the “Tonight” program, an online sexual assault prevention program that has been in place since 2014.
In addition, three more staff members were added to UHS’s Violence Prevention and Survivor Services Unit in fall 2016, Van Orman said. Two victim advocates and a violence prevention specialist have also been hired to increase victim support.
“If students experience sexual violence or they have a friend who they’re worried about, they now have [VPSSU] they can go to with people who are really trained in that [area],” Van Orman said. “[Specialists] can talk to them about what their options are, support and to help them make [difficult] decisions [regarding next steps].”
Along with increasing programs for undergraduate students, additional required violence prevention training was implemented in fall 2016 specifically geared toward graduate and professional students.
The reason for this, Holden said, is because graduate students are disproportionately targeted for sexual harassment compared to undergraduate students. It also meets the needs of the various ages of graduate and professional students.
UHS unveils $400,000 initiative to curb sexual assault, gender-based violenceUniversity Health Services announced Tuesday it is seeking funding for initiatives focused on gender-based violence prevention within Greek life and Read…
“We learned a great deal from the AAU survey, and we’re using that to enhance our efforts at education, prevention and response,” Van Orman said. “This issue continues to be a high priority for our campus.”
Before any preventative measures and educational training, only a small group of people were concerned with sexual assault on campus, Van Orman said. Now, a large portion of the student and faculty body are more aware and want to fight against sexual assault.
Currently, UHS is working on updating the campus policy on sexual assault. Starting in fall 2017, faculty will also be required to participate in training, Van Orman said.
UHS is also looking to work with Greek organizations to further conversations surrounding sexual assault.
At the end of the day, Holden said UHS will continue to strive to provide support for its students.
“From UHS, we are here for students, we believe you,” Holden said