Participate in the UW-Madison Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct

On Monday, April 13, UW-Madison students received a confidential survey asking about the campus climate of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. The results will guide policies to encourage a healthy, safe, and nondiscriminatory environment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and we want to hear from each and every student.

Jeanette Kowalik, the Director of Prevention Services and Campus Health Initiatives at University Health Services (UHS), is the university coordinator for the survey. “We have an incredible opportunity to hear from all students to shape future campus policies and services. We want a campus community where everyone can feel safe,” says Kowalik.

The survey has had a great response thus far, and Kowalik hopes to hear from every student.

  • The survey is voluntary and confidential; disclosing information about experiences will not be considered a report to the university
  • Student responses will be compiled and shared in aggregate only; individual responses will never be shared in a way that identifies an individual
  • Participants who complete the survey may receive a $5 Amazon gift card
  • Participants will be entered into a $500 drawing for visiting the survey site, regardless of whether or not they complete the survey
  • More information can be found at uhs.wisc.edu/aausurvey.html

Results of the survey will be communicated with the campus community later this fall.

For questions about the survey, please contact Kowalik at jlkowalik@uhs.wisc.edu or 608-262-1885. For concerns about sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, or stalking, confidential support and reporting options are available. Both UHS End Violence on Campus and the Rape Crisis Center provide confidential victim advocacy services. UHS also offers 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Services at 608-265-5600 (option 9).

The final countdown…

It’s that time of the semester again. Are you in finals mode?

3 weeks before: Mentally prepare. Make a schedule. Set some goals

  • Get organized. Especially if you’ve fallen behind, now’s a good time to reevaluate and get back on track. Do you have your exam dates written down? What does your finals schedule look like? Starting to think about it now will help ease your mindset into exam time.
  • Identify your goals for each exam. How have you been doing in your classes, and how well do you understand the material? Based on these answers, come up with tangible grade to aim for—it’ll motivate and guide your studying.
  • Start reviewing what you’ve learned this semester, bit by bit. It doesn’t hurt to outline a schedule for yourself, so you can break down your studying into smaller, more bearable increments. This way, studying a bit will become a part of your everyday routine.

2 weeks before: Get into study mode. Enlist support

  • By now, finals should be on your brain. But don’t stress! Instead, work on preparing study materials: flash cards, outlines, study guides—keep in mind that different subjects may lend themselves to different types of resources.
  • Now is a good time to gather some study partners and start reviewing together too! Meeting with a group is a great motivational tool. You can all keep each other on track, and exchange notes and information.

1 week before: Check in with profs. Stay on top of your schedule. Keep it interesting

  • After two weeks of reviewing your materials, you probably have some unanswered questions. Now is a good time to pay your professors and /or TAs a visit—they’re the best people to clear up any confusion. And talking them might ease your stress levels a bit, too!
  • Continue to stay on top of your study schedule. If you find yourself hitting a wall, change it up! Break down your studying by topic, into smaller, more manageable tasks, and allot yourself a set amount of time for each.
  • Been studying in the same spot all this time? Try somewhere new! Different vibes and a change of scenery can revamp your focus and motivation.

2 days before: Final review. Test yourself. Focus on what you know

  • Good news: since you’ve been staying on top of things, there’s no need to cram with only 48 hours left. At this point, it’s more effective to really nail down the material you feel most confident about, rather than scrambling to try to learn new information.
  • Give yourself practice tests to reaffirm all the knowledge you’ve accumulated these past few weeks, and if you made a study group, meet with them to go over the material one last time.

The night before: Easy does it.

  • Relax! You’ve earned it. The best thing you can do for yourself now is get a good night’s sleep. Getting those 8 hours will improve your memory and ensure that your brain will retrain all that info you’ve been plugging away at.

Exam day: Confidence is key—you earned it!

  • Make sure you’re prepared with the basics: pencil, calculator, whatever it is that you may need for the subject.
  • And by now, you’ll be able to take that exam with confidence. Envision yourself acing it, and with all this preparation, you deserve to!

Though this may be easier said than done, when you break it down bit by bit, studying for exams is way less intimidating! Ease yourself into the final crunch with these tips, and you’ll sail through your finals. Study strong, Badgers!

Bystander Intervention: What is it?

Bystander Intervention is the idea that we all have a role to play in the prevention of violence in our community. A bystander is someone who witnesses a dangerous or harmful event and has the ability to help. Through training and practice, students can become empowered to interrupt and challenge harmful behaviors and attitudes that may lead to sexual and relationship violence. Here are the steps you need to know to be an active bystander.

First: Identify the problem

A common barrier to intervening is the inability to interpret the event as problematic. For example, it might seem typical to witness someone making sexual advances towards another student under the influence of alcohol. But it’s important to know that slurred words or stumbling to stand are common signs of incapacitation, an indication that clear consent cannot be given. At this point, the priority should be making sure the student gets home safely.

Second: Assume personal responsibility

Sexual assault on college campuses is a community issue. As a member of this community, we all have a responsibility to step up and intervene. Not only do Badgers get consent, but Badgers take care of one another. What happens to one of us affects all of us. Yes, it IS our business and It’s On Us to help stop sexual assault.

Third: Take action

The next step is to take action. There are many different ways to intervene. One option is to use a direct approach. If you feel comfortable, try addressing the person directly by challenging what they are saying or doing and suggesting to “back off.” You could also try distracting one of the people involved. Approach and strike up a casual introduction or ask a question to interrupt the situation. This can help by preventing the person from being isolated and by recruiting others to help. For example:  “Hey, don’t I have physics with you? What did you think of that last exam? Ben get over here! This girl is in our physics class!”

Remember, there is no one right way to intervene.  If you’re not in a position to help before something bad happens, it’s always ok to step in afterwards and ask, “Are you ok?”

Help is available for student survivors of sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, visit http://www.uhs.wisc.edu/assault/sa-resources.shtml.

Written by Yang Shape Lor, UHS EVOC Men’s Involvement Coordinator and geology major

Supporting survivors: Believe, listen, offer help

#ItsWhatWeDo

The statistics are all too familiar: One in five women and one in 16 men will be sexually assaulted before they graduate. Even if you do not experience sexual or relationship violence during your time at UW-Madison, it is likely that you will have a friend, classmate, or roommate who does.

The support a survivor receives after experiencing a trauma is crucial in determining their healing process and whether they seek help. The most important thing that can be do to support survivors is to believe them, and not question or doubt their experience. This includes not blaming them for a decision, not making excuses for the perpetrator, and not asking things such as “What were you wearing?” or “Are you sure that happened?”

Remember that each individual is different. Refrain from labeling the person’s experience for them or minimizing the event. Although some experiences may be disturbing, the person may not feel traumatized by what happened. Validate their feelings without catastrophizing the experience. Many of us struggle to cope with our own reactions when we hear about how a friend has been hurt, but this time is about their healing.

Victims often feel vulnerable and a loss of control. You may want your friend to get assistance and do what you think is the “best” thing possible. Remember, they are the only person who knows what is right for them. Refrain from pressuring the person to handle the situation in a way that they are not comfortable with, such as reporting the assault or abuse to law enforcement or campus officials.

You can help by getting information about campus and community resources or guide them to someone who can inform them of all their options, such as a Victim Advocate. Remember, the best way you can help is by believing, listening, and supporting.

Help is available. For more information on the services available to student survivors of sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, visit http://www.uhs.wisc.edu/assault/sa-resources.shtml. Students, faculty, and staff can call, email, or visit UHS EVOC during open access hours to learn more about resources and options for student survivors.

Written by Arlyn Gonzalez, UHS EVOC Project Assistant and Psychology and Social Welfare major