By Barbara Young —
Within the first week of school, it became apparent that UW–Stout, like all other colleges in the U.S., needs an education and prevention system for sexual assault. Luckily for UW–Stout, a relatively new organization, Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA), will be taking up the mantle.
The student organization was approved Spring semester of 2015 and have been aiming to increase awareness on campus ever since. “Mainly we are trying to create a different environment on campus,” said SASA President Melissa Sadloske. “[We want to be a campus] that’s more aware that sexual assault happens and we want to advocate for awareness.”
College campuses are one of the highest ranked locations in regards to sexual assault. In fact, 1 in 5 college women will be sexually assaulted during their college years. Statistics like these spurred the creation of the SASA.
“Our founding members wanted to create a place for people to learn about [sexual assault] on campus,” said Sadloske. “I don’t want any other guy or girl to feel subjected to [sexual assault]. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing and it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. No one deserves this.”
The org focuses their efforts on education, support and positivity. “We want to attract attention to sexual assault in positive ways,” said Sadloske. “We want to have events where we draw attention to the fact that this is happening and not put it in a negative light. It is a serious issue, but it is something you change in positive ways.”
One of last year’s main events for the org was the, Red My Lips Campaign, in which students wear red lipstick to support sexual assault awareness. This year many more events and educational programs are planned including Denim Day, Walk the Walk, and consent presentations.
All are welcome to the meetings, whether a student is a survivor looking for support or is passionate about ending sexual assault on campus.
“If you share your own story or someone else’s it stays in the room with us. It’s not going to go out on campus,” said Sadloske. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure it’s a safe place that people can come and talk and feel like they can get feedback or knowledge.”
SASA meets Thursdays 8 to 9 in Jarvis Rm. 114.