Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sexual Assault Treatment, Response & Prevention at UWL, by Shelby Jacobson and Ellen Barrett

The University of La Crosse has a registered nurse devoted to helping students after a sexual assault. She is known as a sexual assault nurse examiner.

SANEs can collect forensic evidence suitable in court, inform victims of the importance of reporting the assault, provide medication to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, and provide the victim with additional resources to receive help.
SANE nurses can be found on campus and off campus. Ingrid Peterson is a sexual assault victim advocate and prevention specialist available on campus in 149 Graff Main Hall. She can also be reached at 608-785-8062.

At UW-L sexual harassment is impermissible and subject to disciplinary action in accordance with applicable due process requirements including but not limited to reprimand, temporary suspension, expulsion, or discharge if a student is found guilty.

For someone has been sexually assaulted, take the following precautions
Preserve the evidence.  Don't clean up, bathe, douche, or change clothes.
Go immediately to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.  Both Mayo Clinic Health System (10th & Market) and Gundersen  (1836 South Ave) provide sexual assault services, including SANE nurses and counselors. Both will help with reporting the assault to law enforcement if desired. UW-L University Police or the La Crosse Police Department is available for transportation to an emergency room.
Write down details about the assailant (height, weight, hair color, physical oddities, clothing and the name in the case of date or acquaintance rape) and circumstances as soon as possible.
Report the crime to UW-L University Police, 608-789-9999, or the La Crosse City Police, 911, or the UW-L Student Life Office, 785-8062, as quickly as possible.  Reporting the crime does not mean asking for prosecution of the alleged perpetrator, but it does help provide resources, as well as helping to ensure the safety of other students.
Get help for yourself no matter how long ago or circumstances of assault.  Immediate and ongoing help is available from First Call for Help, 782-8010 (24 hours) and the UW-L Counseling & Testing Center, 785-8073 (8:30-4:30 Monday through Friday). The sexual assault services at the local hospitals are also available for support, counseling, and information about the different options are available -- Mayo Clinic Health System, 608-392-7804 or (800) 362-5454, X7804, and Gundersen, 608-775-3845 or 1-800-362-9567, X53845.

Local off campus help includes Mayo Clinic Health System (608-392-7804) and Gundersen (608-775-3845). Options Clinic can be reached at 608-775-8390. Options Clinic does not require insurance. Always call La Crosse police about an assault.

According to city data, there are currently 19 registered sex offenders living in La Crosse. La Crosse has higher crime rates than the neighboring cities of La Crescent, Onalaska, Hokah, and West Salem.
The legal definition of sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact. Sexual assault is any forced or coerced sexual intercourse or contact. It is a crime of violence in which assailants, whether known to the victim or not, are motivated by a desire to humiliate and have power over the victim.  Refer to Wisconsin State Statutes 940.225 and 948.012.

Students can decrease their risk of sexual harassment and rape by staying responsible and taking these precautions:
  1. Limit their alcohol intake and not receive open drinks.
  2. Avoid engaging with strangers.
  3. Students should not walk alone. Students can start a buddy system or have somebody designated to call if uncomfortable. The Safe Ride bus is also available Thursday through Saturday nights through campus and off campus.
  4. Students must make their own choices and stick by them.
  5. Students should not be persuaded by others. Students can learn to defend themselves in case of an attack. Various kickboxing classes are always offered the UW-L Rec.
  6. Students should always trust their gut instincts. On campus, Blue Light Emergency Phones are placed throughout campus and at the entrance to residence calls in order for students to directly communicate with campus police in case of emergency.
  7. Students can also learn about rape and what drives those to rape. Educating will help students learn situations to avoid.
UWL is always looking to make students feel safe on campus. If someone feels unsafe or uncomfortable, call campus police at 608-785-9000 (nonemergency) or 608-785-9999 (emergency).
For UWL's 2007 statistics for sexual assault, visit
For more information for students about sexual assault, visit
To learn the Safe Ride schedule, visit

To find Blue Light Emergency Phones locations, visit