Sexual harassment is a widespread problem in Wisconsin. It affects thousands of women in all fields, including education. Recently, the University of Wisconsin System implemented new training to combat sexual assault and harassment. All of its staff members and nearly 90 percent of students have now completed the training. Will it have an effect on sexual harassment in Wisconsin?

College campuses react to #MeToo

Following the #MeToo movement, reports of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, increased markedly at UW campuses. This led to the investigation and resignation of a chancellor at UW-Whitewater and a professor at UW-Madison.

In response to the harassment allegations and increasing awareness of sexual misconduct, the UW System pledged to ramp up its anti-harassment training. Officials revealed in a public statement that all UW employees and 87 percent of the student body have now received this training.

What does this mean for Wisconsin?

By enforcing anti-sexual-harassment training on its campuses, the university hopes to impact not only its campus culture but also the rate of sexual harassment in Wisconsin. When thousands of staff and students understand sexual harassment, they may be able to recognize, prevent and report it. This could dramatically reduce the rate of sexual misconduct throughout the state.

Harassment can happen on campuses–or anywhere

College campuses are not the only places rampant with gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct. It exists in the professional world, too. Whether in the classroom or the boardroom, harassment has several warning signs, including:

  • Comments or jokes of a sexual nature
  • Unwanted physical contact
  • Sexist behavior, such as derogatory talk against women
  • Displaying or sharing sexually explicit material
  • Questions about someone’s sex life
  • Repeated incidents, even if asked to stop

Anyone, whether a college student or a CEO, can experience sexual harassment. Victims are advised to document every occurrence, report the perpetrator to the authorities and consider their legal options.