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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Reported rapes on UW campus increase, UWPD finds

Reports of fondling, statutory rape, stalking also increased from 2021
Dana Kampa

CONTENT WARNING: Discussion of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence. If you have been sexually assaulted, experienced domestic violence or are not sure, there are several ways to get support. View options on campus through University Health Services.

Reported incidents of on-campus rape at the University of Wisconsin increased for the second year in a row, according to the 2023 UWPD Annual Security & Fire Safety Report.

The report, released Friday, Sept. 29, showed 25 reported on-campus rapes in 2022, with 16 in student housing. There were 19 reported on-campus rapes in 2021 and nine in 2020.


In an email statement to The Badger Herald, Director of Survivor Services at University Health Services Molly Caradonna said it is possible the increase in formal reporting could point to improved communication on campus about reporting, including increased comfort with reporting or increased trust in institutions.

“Self-reported rates of victimization through population-level anonymous surveying (like the AAU Campus Climate Survey) remain largely unchanged, which is consistent with campus trends nationally, while formal reports of sexual violence have increased,” Caradonna said.

The 2022 numbers are likely underestimates of cases of rape on UW’s campus. Caradonna said the Annual Security Report only represents a piece of the puzzle when understanding sexual violence on the UW campus. Additional data from other local confidential reporting sites such as UHS and the Rape Crisis Center are not represented in this document.

The document also does not account for the sexual assaults that go unreported. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, only 20% of female college-age students report sexual assaults to the police. Caradonna said the decision to report to law enforcement or the university is always the choice of each survivor, but UHS continues their work with campus and community partners to make these reporting processes accessible, transparent and trauma-informed.

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UHS Survivor Services has provided student survivors with free, confidential assistance for over a decade. According to the UHS Survivor Services website, the staff provides emotional support, counseling, assistance with requests for accommodations, information about reporting options and tailored guidance to help each survivor through the process. They also provide students with a Sexual Misconduct Resource and Response Guide.

Currently, there are six full-time mental health professionals, two full-time advocates and medical services provided by the UHS Gynecology and Sexual Health team, which includes on-site forensic nurse exams available through web-booking on MyUHS or walking into the clinic at 333 East Campus Mall. The advocacy program, directly overseen by Caradonna, is funded by student segregated fees and run by UHS.

Caradonna said it’s important to remember that experiences of sexual violence occur on a spectrum and all victims/survivors are deserving of care and support.

“This spectrum includes assault, but also domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, and stalking,” Caradonna said. “If you’re wondering about something you’ve experienced, please know that support is available.

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The 2023 report also found 37 instances of stalking on campus, 11 instances of fondling, eight instances of domestic violence and five instances of dating violence. The report also included statistics on arrests, disciplinary referrals, criminal offenses, hate crimes, unfounded crimes and Violence Against Women Act violations.   

Caradonna said UHS recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October and will hold events throughout the month. UHS is also introducing expanded violence prevention education resources to help students better recognize the signs of dating violence, support survivors and learn about available resources on campus. 

Resources regarding sexual assault:

  • RCC: Sexual Violence Resource Center (608)-251-7273
  • Let’s Talk:
    • Sex, Sexuality and Healthy Relationships” section
  • Room to be Safe: For Queer survivors of violence: (414) 856-LGBT (5428)
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224
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