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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Sexual violence subject of forum

A 'never talked about' topic was the subject of discussion for a group of UW-Madison students Wednesday. 

 

 

 

Sexual violence and its effects on minority students on campus was the topic for the forum at Lowell Hall, 610 Langdon St., which was sponsored by the Associated Students of Madison Diversity Liaisons Program and Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment. 

 

 

 

A panel made up of five students representing various campus organizations discussed issues ranging from defining sexual violence and its emotional impact to segregation on campus and ways to bridge the gaps between segregated groups.  

 

 

 

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The group struggled through questions that raised deeper issues of sexuality and its implications in American culture, such as how black women are portrayed in the media.  

 

 

 

The panel memebers also discussed the prevalence of sexual assault and its pertinence to the lives of many college students. 

 

 

 

Some people, like audience member UW-Madison senior Hannah Baker, expressed concerns about broader issues relating to sexual violence, such as need for the various groups on campus to work to address the issue together, which she said was difficult due to heavy segregation. 

 

 

 

'Unity on this campus is all over the place,' said Baker, the volunteer outreach coordinator for the Campus Women's Center. 

 

 

 

ASM Women's Issues Diversity Liaison Angela Bartucci planned Wednesday night's event, and said afterward she was pleased with what was discussed, but that it was only the beginning. 

 

 

 

'We just barely scratched the surface on this issue,' she said. 

 

 

 

At the end of the night the group expressed interest in meeting again, perhaps encouraging more students to participate to increase their knowledge about the importance of addressing sexual violence and minorities on campus.  

 

 

 

'It's a very slow process,' Bartucci said. 'It's not something we're going to change in one night or one semester or even one year.' 

 

 

 

For some, like panelist Jamie Gamez, representing Men Opposing Sexual Assault, the event left an impact he said would be felt for a while. 

 

 

 

'These four [other] panelists taught me more in two hours than I've learned in my two years of college at Madison of issues regarding sexual violence and issues of color,' he said. 

 

 

 

Gamez said he even surprised himself during the night because he felt as though he was at a loss for words, partially because he had heard others addressing topics he never considered before regarding sexual violence. 

 

 

 

'I was enlightened,' he said. 'I was very, very enlightened.' 

 

 

 

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