Survey finds high rate of sex assault in UW System - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Survey finds high rate of sex assault in UW System

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Madison (WKOW) -- A survey of more than 13,000 University of Wisconsin System students and employees found a high rate of sexual assault on and off campuses.

  More than 280 people who took the voluntary survey at four universities and 13 two-year colleges reported being sexually assaulted.

  The majority of them say they didn't report their assault.

  The UW campuses involved in the survey were La Crosse, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, and Stevens Point.

  Consultant Sue Rankin, who was hired to conduct the survey, says the rate of sexual assault is alarming but not unique to Wisconsin.

  She says her research has shown similar rates on other campuses, particularly those with high levels of drinking.

  Rankin says most of the assaults occur within the first six weeks of a female student's freshman year.

  Regent Judith Crain of Green Bay says the number of assaults is "terribly disturbing."

  Madison chapter spokesperson Stephanie Byrnes of Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment (PAVE) told 27 News more campus education on risks and responses connected to sexual assault is vital.

   Byrnes said UW-Madison has been a leader in prevention education.

   "For fraternities and sorrorities, it is required,"  Byrnes told 27 News.

   "It's training in sexual violence factors.  Professors also request PAVE members make classroom presentations on sexual assault."

   The survey will be administered on four more UW campuses next year, including UW-Whitewater.

   Officials said campus leaders are being instructed to reinforce programs that deal with the issues of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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