In the cusp of autumn 2013, a UWS female student went to an off-campus party with her friends. She was drinking and convinced her friends that they could leave and she’d get a ride from someone else. As the night carried on, she met a boy who told her to come with him to his apartment. She was too drunk to fully understand his threats but she felt afraid. She went back to his apartment, and while throwing up in his bathroom was able to call her roommate and have her bring her home to the res hall.
Luckily for her, she came out of that situation untouched and okay, but nationwide, one in every five college females will be the victim of sexual violence, according to a study conducted by the National Institute of Justice. They also found that 90 percent of sexual violence was done by acquiescence. Only 12 percent of victims will go on to report their experience.
Health Services Coordinator Dr. Dawn Schulze said the reason students don’t report is because they think they put themselves into that situation. She said the chances of people reporting sexual violence often varies with education. She also added that The process of reporting can be off-putting. The people statistically most likely to report are the ones who were raped when defined in the legal sense of the word, but what constitutes as sexual violence can vary from person to person.
“Some of the definitions change or become more inclusive,” said Shulze. “A pat on the butt to some is sexual assault or it could be seen as a friendly gesture.”
In 2010, there were two sex offenses in UWS residence halls. In 2011 there were four, and in 2012 there was one off-campus incident, according to the Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report. Campus safety reported five sex offense “events handled” in 2013, one of which was off-campus. Of those five, they reported there were two “tickets issued/arrests made.”
“The victim has the right to not press charges,” Gary Gulbrandson, director of the Department of Public Safety at UWS said recently.
The five 2013 cases were all fourth-degree offences.
“Fourth degree generally relates to touching,” Gulbrandson explained.
Gulbrandson said he thinks the number of UWS victims who report is probably even lower than the 12 percent estimated by the National Center for Justice. “Its been known for years that the vast majority aren’t reported,” he said. He also said that sometimes victims will go the the local police departments instead of Campus Safety, or they go to the dean of students or to health service, which he would only find out for when Campus Safety writes their Clery Act report.
The Clery Act (“The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act”) was signed into law in 1990. It was named for Jeanne Clery, a Lehigh University student who was raped and murdered in her dorm in 1986. This incident pressured campus police to report crimes on college campuses for families and students to see.
In bathrooms all around campus are Sexual Assault pamphlets for students to take. Written on the front is “UW-Superior encourages individuals to speak out when they are affected by sexual assault.”
The pamphlet describes sexual assault, gives phone numbers for nearby hospitals, and shows statistics.
“Someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted every two minutes,” the pamphlet, distributed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, says.
A representative from the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA) is the Gender Equity Center every Friday to be available to any students who want to know more.