The Advance-Titan

UW System introduces new website educating people about sexual assault

The University of Wisconsin System launched a new website across all campuses Feb. 3, which connects those affected by sexual violence to resources and support programs.

UW Oshkosh Women’s Center Director Alicia Johnson said the website contains helpful information as well as a range of services to help students who have been affected by sexual harassment and violence.

“As a website alone, it’s good for people who are victims or survivors of sexual violence,” Johnson said. “But it also helps connect you to not only on-campus resources, but also community resources.”

The website offers information, ranging from ways for individuals to find help to answering questions about sexual violence.

Johnson said knowing the different definitions of sexual harassment is important to understanding and helping victims affected by specific offenses.

“It’s really great to have that consistent message and terms so that people understand, regardless of what campus you go to,” Johnson said.

Johnson said an important part of the website accessibility of resources for friends and family of victims.

“Sexual violence doesn’t just impact the person who was violated, but also their entire friend group,” Johnson said. “Having that information of what to do and what to say is really important.”

UWO Campus Victim Advocate Stephanie Kitzerow said it is important for students to become educated about sexual violence in order to be prepared in case it affects them.

“The goal is to hopefully get everyone on the same page with the message we’re trying to get across,” Kitzerow said. “That sexual and domestic assault and dating violence aren’t okay.”

Kitzerow said another goal is to provide more bystander intervention resources, so more people step in and stop sexual assault and harassment before it happens.

UWO Junior Chance Smith said he hopes the website will spread awareness and be a valuable resource for those looking for support.

“I think that it is a very positive thing that the UW system is doing, compiling resources and helping victims of sexual assault,” Smith said. “I hope the website helps this subject gain recognition on campus.”

The original idea for the website was conceived in July 2014 by the UW System Task Force on Sexual Violence and Harassment, which is made up of students, faculty and administrators from all UW campuses.

The task force was instructed to coordinate efforts to strengthen the UW System’s ability to prevent sexual violence and assist victims, according to a press release from UW System President Ray Cross.

“It represents the next step in the UW System’s longstanding commitment to ensure that all students, faculty and staff are provided with a safe educational and work environment free of discrimination, harassment and violence,” Cross said.

Johnson said she believes the website will be a valuable resource for all students across the UW System.

“I know that people spent a lot of time building those websites so that it is a resource, so I hope people go to it and ask questions if needed,” Johnson said. “The Office of Equity and Affirmative Action is also always there and ready to answer questions for people.”

All services and resources can be found at www.wisconsin.edu/sexual-assault-harassment.

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
UW System introduces new website educating people about sexual assault