UW-Madison develops plan to address sexual assaults

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In the wake of the AAU Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Survey that revealed one in four undergraduate females were sexually assaulted, University of Wisconsin-Madison officials have developed a plan to address the issue.

UW-Madison was one of 27 campuses that participated in the survey.

“We definitely do need to make a culture change, and so we are moving forth with that,” said Sarah Laudon, a UW senior and member of the Greek Sexual Assault Task Force. “We made a task force of really driven students that are passionate about this and we came up with six recommendations that we presented to the chancellor on how we can get the culture change moving.”

The university will target information and prevention programs to first-year students.

An online prevention program gives graduate and professional students information about victim services, campus policies, bystander intervention and support for survivors.

The university will also support student-led efforts to develop programs like peer education services. Programs like the UW Police Department “Don’t Be That Guy” will also be supported through training, workshops and media campaigns.

Prevention programs will also target high-risk drinking. Men will be able to play a role by taking the Greek Men for Violence Prevention class or participating in a new initiative called the Men’s Project. Both will work to reduce violence against women.

The work will also receive financial support from the university as $400,000 will be spent next year on sexual assault prevention. Those resources will be spent to add staff, including victim advocates.

The university hopes a comprehensive approach will help to change the culture on campus.

“I think that the idea that a single program, whether that is online or in person, or a single policy or a single social-norming campaign is going to sort of change the culture is just not going to happen,” said Dr. Sarah Van Orman, executive director of University Health Services.