Outreach projects by class aim to educate about sexual assault

April 10, 2014

A University of Wisconsin-Stout class is helping raise awareness about healthy sexuality and is engaging young people to raise their voices to impact future generations.

Students in the Abuse and the Family class taught by Associate Professor Susan Wolfgram, human development and family studies, are organizing nine social action projects to help empower youth and those who are incarcerated, both youth and adults.

Students who presented at New Richmond High School, from left, Matt Jandourek, Megan Gruenke, Samantha Nixt, Emily Armbrust and Brooke Zimmerman.The outreach projects in April coincide with national Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Wolfgram believes if "you change one person you have the potential to change an entire generation."

About one in five women and nearly one in seven men who ever experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age. These are low estimates given how underreported these experiences are," said Wolfgram, citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"There is evidence that we can be successful in reducing sexual and other forms of violence in our community through prevention, education and increased awareness. We are all stakeholders," Wolfgram said.

Students coordinating the Clothesline Project, from left, Val Masanz, Shannon Czajkowski, Samantha Hastings and Samantha Steinke.One social action project, the Clothesline Project, features T-shirts with messages about sexual assault. The shirts are being displayed at various sites around Menomonie during April. Learn more here.

The annual Take Back the Night event will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, April 25, at the Raw Deal, 603 S. Broadway St. It will include speakers, live music, a candle light vigil and have resources on sexual violence awareness, along with the Clothesline Project display.

The vigil will begin at 9:30 p.m. and include a march from the Raw Deal to the UW-Stout Clock Tower.

The student project manager for Take Back the Night is Melissa Hesketh, of Eau Claire.

The other seven social action projects are in Dunn, Eau Claire, Pierce and St. Croix counties. The sites and student project managers are:

-- Dunn County Jail; Brooke Fearon, of Milton

-- Eau Claire County Jail; Alana Wall, of Circle Pines, Minn.

-- Transitions Center in Eau Claire for ex-offenders; Bria Mertz, of Farmington, Minn.

-- Northwest Juvenile Detention Center in Eau Claire; Phylicia Fehlen, of Clear Lake

-- New Richmond High School; Matt Jandourek, of Shiocton

-- River Falls High School; Brittany Randt, of Little Chute

-- Menomonie Middle School; Betsy Hundt, of Onalaska.

For more information on the human development and family studies program, click here.