Campus sees decrease in sexual assaults since 2005

According to the Annual Safety Report conducted by the university, the percentage of students who reported being involved in a sexual assault has decreased from 10 percent to five percent from 2005 to 2010.


Attempted forced intercourse has decreased from 3.5 percent to two percent.  Sexual penetration against one’s will has remained solidly at one percent from 2005 to 2010.

Wellness Coordinator Whitney Henley said these statistics follow trends that are being found on a national level.

“If the statistics haven’t decreased a little in the past five years, they’ve stayed the same,” Henley said. “That reflects the national trend that sexual violence is decreasing.”

Other statistics based on an anonymous survey of 428 UW-Whitewater students in 2006 show some interesting figures.

Based on nine behaviors listed on the survey that constituted sexual assault, 30 percent of students surveyed had experienced at least one of those behaviors in their lifetime.  Twenty-four percent of students surveyed had experienced at least one behavior before attending UW-Whitewater. Twelve percent of students surveyed had experienced at least one behavior once while attending UW-Whitewater.  Interestingly, 59 percent of students surveyed who had experienced at least one of the nine behaviors listed said they had never been sexually assaulted.

As defined by Section 940.225 of the Wisconsin Statutes, there are four degrees of sexual assault based on the forcefulness of the assailant and the harm done to the victim.

First degree sexual assault includes: sexual intercourse or sexual contact without consent that inflicts physical harm or pregnancy, sexual intercourse or sexual contact that involves the use of or threatening to use a dangerous weapon, or while aided by one or more persons by using threats of force or violence.

Second degree sexual assault includes: unwanted sexual intercourse, contact without consent, use of threats or violence during sexual intercourse or sexual contact that causes injury, illness, or disease of a sexual organ.


Sexual intercourse or contact with a person who is mentally ill, unconscious, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs is also considered a second degree assault.

Third degree sexual assault includes sexual intercourse without consent or sexual contact without ejaculation.

Fourth degree sexual assault includes: sexual contact with another person without consent, sexual intercourse, with or without consent, with a person 16 or 17 years old.

Charges for the different degrees of sexual assault range from nine months to 60 years of imprisonment and additional fines between $10,000 and $100,000.

There are also related Wisconsin statutes for such offenses as consensual sexual contact or intercourse between a person over the age of 18 and another person under the age of 18 including harassment and stalking, among others.

Police Chief Matt Kiederlen said if a student feels they have been sexually assaulted, it is very important they contact officials.

“The first thing someone should do if they’ve been sexually assaulted is report it,” Kiederlen said. “In a perfect situation for law enforcement when dealing with a sexual assault situation is the victim calls as soon as they are safe and can do so.”

Kiederlen also stressed the importance of maintaining the scene after the incident occurs.

“The victim should not shower; they should not wash any linens,” Kiederlen said. “Simply running something through the laundry or taking a shower can destroy a lot of evidence, DNA, hair fibers, all that stuff.”

Henley said there are a lot of good resources on campus for students who need support.

“We are not an emergency facility, so if someone is raped, they don’t want to come here, but we do have STD testing and pregnancy testing, and we also have counselors that are really helpful for people to talk to,” Henley said. “Taking care of the emotional health is really important too. It’s good to reach out to people to get support.”

If students feel they have been sexually assaulted, they can report it, even if they don’t want to pursue a criminal case. Students also have the choice to remain anonymous.

For more information on sexual assault, rights of victims, or statistics, visit

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