1.20.16 | Cheney Mason
Winona State University is where students should feel safe, yet reports of sexual assault and violence are still possible to occur.
A Campus Climate survey performed last January showed Winona State at a national average level for sexual violence, according to Tamara Berg, director of women’s, gender and sexuality studies department at Winona State.
“If you look at the annual security report it shows one reported assault in the last three years,” Berg said.
A majority of sexual assault instances go without ever being reported by the victim at all, Berg said, and the only way Winona State gathered accurate data about sexual assault victims was shown in the climate report.
“We had about one in five people report that they had unwanted sexual contact since the start of the last academic school year,” Berg said. “I think that surprised a lot of people.”
Berg expressed that the number of sexual assaults reported in the last year has gone up, meaning more victims are gaining the courage to speak up.
“That shows that the university is doing a good job of letting students knowing that we will take sexual assault and dating violence seriously and support students if they come forward,” Berg said.
Winona State has an ongoing support group made up of a trained counselor as well as a Gender-Based Violence helpline available 24/7, where students are able to talk confidentially to an advocate.
“My big advice to students is, if you see something that doesn’t seem right, say something or if someone tells you something, believe them and encourage them to access support,” Berg said. “The helpline is really great for support.”