The 2016 presidential election has been full of surprises. One such surprise is the attention sexual assault has been getting over the past few weeks. Donald Trump’s campaign has suffered following the release of a video on Access Hollywood Bus from 2005. In the video, Trump is recorded lewdly talking about things he has done to non-consenting women. “When you’re a star, they let you do it,” he said. “You can do anything.” Hillary Clinton has also seen questions about her role in her husband’s scandals revolving around sexual assault in recent weeks as well.
It can be easy to lose oneself in the rhetoric behind the recent allegations; however, sexual assault is a serious crime, and one relevant to a campus setting. Speaking with students across campus, one student said she was “disgusted” when she heard Donald Trump’s words from the recording.
The University of Wisconsin–Stout has countless resources dedicated to sexual assault prevention, awareness and advocacy. The university approaches supporting sexual assault victims on multiple fronts. With the issue of sexual assault peaking in the election cycle, it is important for UW–Stout students to know what is available to them in the event that they, or someone they know, experiences sexual assault on campus. According to The University of Wisconsin Stout campus police page on the UW–Stout website, less than 20% of sexual assaults are reported.
After meetings with the Dean of Students office and UW–Stout campus police, it was made clear that the reason these types of assaults are not reported is often due to the social proximity of the victim to the accused. Both the Dean of Students office and campus police urged victims to reach out to their offices if they believe they have been sexually assaulted. As recently as earlier this month, a sexual assault was reported outside Jarvis Hall; the investigation is still ongoing.
However, in the event a student does not want to report a potential sexual assault to the authorities, the Counseling Center is available at 410 Bowman Hall Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or by phone at (715) 232-2468. In addition, the center is not required to pass along any information they receive to the authorities. The aforementioned student spoke of an event in her life where she believed sexual assault was probably the best descriptor for that event. However, she chose not to report the event. The decision is ultimately a personal one to make, but the students at UW–Stout do have many options.
If you would like to help protect and support students in regards to sexual assault, the Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA) student org meets Wednesday nights 7-8 p.m. in the MSC (reach out to the student org office for more information). Good conversations can spawn from even the ugliest of election cycles. Even as the election cycle moves away from its October centerpiece, sexual assault will remain an issue on UW–Stout’s campus, and these resources will continue to work to keep the students safe and informed.