Sexual Assault Response and Prevention | Innovative Prevention Strategy Progresses

Sexual citizens lecture, Memorial Union, February 2024
Sexual citizens lecture, Memorial Union, February 2024
Pictured right to left: Sam Bowen (Assistant Director of UHS Violence Prevention), Dr. Jennifer Hirsch (Columbia University), Dr. Shamus Khan (Princeton University), Brooke West (Columbia University).

The Student Affairs core team addressing sexual assault response and prevention has made significant progress in the implementation of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Community Equity (SPACE) toolkit, an innovative approach to violence prevention. 

The SPACE toolkit guides campus stakeholders through four stages of examining the ways the university environment contributes to or mitigates the risk of sexual violence on campus: 1) Commit, 2) Convene, 3) Consider, and 4) Change. The core team is shifting into the third stage, in which the SPACE toolkit task force will examine the power and equity dynamics within residential, social, virtual, programmatic, and public spaces. Upon completing their audit, the task force will then make concrete recommendations related to space, policies, and procedures governing the spaces to reduce the risk of sexual violence.   

The UW-Madison SPACE Toolkit task force consists of nearly equal staff and student members with representation from Fraternity & Sorority Life, Campus Event Services, University Housing, Dean of Students Office, University Health Services, UW–Madison Libraries, Cross-College Advising Services, Athletics, University Veterans Services, and Transportation Services.

This work will be guided by expert consultation from the primary authors of the toolkit, Jennifer Hirsch, Ph.D., Shamus Khan, Ph.D. (Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, 2008), and Brooke West. Hirsch and Khan also authored the 2020 book “Sexual Citizens,” which has been central to national conversations about sexual violence prevention on college campuses over the past several years.

Sexual citizens lecture, Memorial Union, February 2024.
Sexual citizens lecture, Memorial Union, February 2024
Aforementioned individuals on-stage. Broader audience/ballroom picture.

To prepare for the next step of this work, Student Affairs recently hosted the authors for a multi-day site visit, during which students led them on tours to understand our campus environment. They also gave an interactive lecture to over 150 campus stakeholders about the use of a public health approach to address sexual violence, and they led an extended meeting with the SPACE toolkit task force.   

Stay tuned for further developments from the Student Affairs core team on sexual violence prevention and response.