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Friday, January 27, 2023
joshua johnson

Joshua Johnson, assistant dean of students, listens to student advice for how UW-Madison can better deal with sexual assault on campus. 

Campus finds sexual assault in native populations disproportionately high

Students are looking for solutions to the disproportionate rate at which American Indian students are experiencing sexual assault at UW-Madison, following the university’s Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct.

The survey, conducted this year as the university’s first campus-specific resource for statistics, revealed that 46.2 percent of American Indian students reported experiencing sexual assault, according to Joshua Johnson, assistant dean of students and director of the Multicultural Student Center, who spoke at the Amer­i­can Indian Stu­dent & Cul­tural Cen­ter Wednesday.

The group of students, alumni, advocates, advisors and community members present at the small meeting further condemned the constituent statistics: Only 389 American Indian students attend UW-Madison and only 6 percent indicated they are “very” or “extremely” aware of resources available to sexual assault survivors.

Sam Johnson, a violence prevention specialist with University Health Services, said increasing this knowledge and expanding prevention efforts are a priority to combat sexual assault and misconduct at UW-Madison.

UW-Madison student Emily Nelis advocated for increased awareness and support for the emotional pain many can feel after sexual assault, especially within communities of people.

“The assault on native women, the suicide rates in our tribal communities, the alcoholism, it’s everything,” Nelis said. “It’s all interconnected within our communities, and it just goes to show that although it may not happen to you, it can affect you in so many different ways.”

Advocates at the meeting indicated the need for more comprehensive programs on campus to help counselors and peers better understand how these situations interact with native culture, as well as a decrease in barriers to prosecuting non-native

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